Film Essay Contest – Romanian Film Festival Arizona


Romanian Film Festival Arizona,
2nd edition, November 2022
Film Essay Contest

This project is partially funded by a City of Tempe – Community Arts Grant.

So you thought it was enough to have to sit through several Romanian arthouse movies? Now we dare you to also write about them!
If you are between the ages of 18 and 25 and are passionate about the art of cinema, we are looking for you!
We challenge you to write about one of the films screened @ Majestic Tempe 7 during the Romanian Film Festival, November 19-20. See details below. 



Winner: $250 (essay + author interview will be featured on ARCS Arizona’s website and social media) 

Runner up: $150 (essay + author will be featured on ARCS Arizona’s website and social media)


Who is Eligible?  

People ages 18-25     


800 – 1,000 words

Judges/ Guest Judge

Independent panel – TBA

Key Dates 

November 19-20, Romanian Film Festival Arizona screenings
– November 19, Metronom @2:00 PM, Majestic Tempe 7
– November 20, The Island @11:00 am, Majestic Tempe 7
– November 20, Things Worth Weeping For @2:00 pm, Majestic Tempe 7
– November 21: Competition Opens
– November 30, 2022: Last day to submit essay
– January 10, 2022: Winners announced 

*For students, we have 30 free tickets available for each screening. You can pick them up at the door before each show, on a first-come, first-served basis. Otherwise, see info on tickets here. Student pricing available. 


Guidelines for essays on film

Your essays will have to be written in response to any of the in-person screenings.

We are not asking for a review. This should be a personal response to the experience you had watching the movie: explore what you think the film is about, using clear references from the film to illustrate your personal point of view. Refer to specific scenes, lines, shots, as well as creative choices in acting, sound design, writing, directing, cinematography.

Film is an audiovisual medium and uses specific tools to tell a story. Consider how filmmakers use the language of cinema to create meaning and evoke emotion.

While you do not need to summarize the entire plot, presume that the reader is not familiar with the film. As a part of your argument, in your own words, give a brief synopsis that captures both the style of the film, and the story. Put time and effort into writing and editing. To be successful, your piece will have to captivate and keep the reader engaged, and your conclusion will neatly tie in with your main claim and the evidence you provide, from the film and your personal experience. 

As you write, consider the fact that you have watched a Romanian film. You might want to do a bit of research and consider the film’s unique way of portraying the world, exploring the historical and cultural conditions that produce these effects, as well as how the story speaks to universal human concerns. Do the film’s themes and concerns resonate with you? If so, how and why? How does this film compare or connect to other works you may have watched, and what makes it different? 

Essays will be evaluated on the depth of your observation / analysis, as well as clarity (easy to follow by the reader) and originality (essay reflects your personal experience with the film).  

All the film essays collected will be sent to the creators of the respective movies.

Thank you all for your continuous support!

Romanian Film Fest Arizona Team

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