Communist Romania -1980s. Culturally isolated, ideologically censored; all images of life outside the Iron Curtain are cut off and TV is reduced to a couple of hours of propaganda bulletins each day. From the drab concrete housing blocks to the food ration queues, an overwhelming fear of state surveillance had prevented the people from stepping out of line. But there was one window into the free world available to anyone who dared to look. In the mid-1980s, thousands of Hollywood films were smuggled into the country through a well-oiled operation that swelled and swelled until it reached millions across Romania. The films were dubbed by one courageous female translator whose distinct voice captivated the whole nation and became a symbol of freedom. The fearless stories of action heroes like Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme captured every child’s imagination, but it was the lavish settings and backdrops that mesmerised this unique audience. For the first time people saw what had been denied to them: supermarkets stacked full of food, the trappings of wealth, the latest fashions, super cars, and most of all, freedom.

Irina Margareta Nistor: Sie selbst
Ana Maria Moldovan: Irina Nistor
Dan Chiorean: Teodor Zamfir
Valentin Oncu: Mircea
Cristian Stanca: Orzan
Petre Bacioiu: Petrulea
Elena Ivanca: Mrs. Cristea


Director: Ilinca Calugareanu
Camera: Jose Ruiz
Editor: Per K. Kirkegaard
Music: Anne Nikitin, Rob Manning
Producer: Brett Ratner, Mara Adina
Co-Producer: Stefan Kloos, Monica Lãzurean-Gorgan, Abbas Nokhasteh
Executive Producer: Nicole Stott, John Battsek, Dan Cogan, James Packer, Jenny Raskin, Andrew Ruhemann
Production: Vernon Films Production in Zusammenarbeit mit Passion Pictures, Ratpac Documentary Films & Impact Partners
Co-Production: Kloos & Co. Medien GmbH Berlin & WDR in Zusammenarbeit mit ARTE, HBO Romania, Openvizor & 4 Proof Film

“A winning debut doc celebrating Hollywood’s cultural impact.” Hollywood Reporter


“A warmhearted glimpse into an improbable realm of resistance.” Screen International


“Stylish, breezily entertaining documentary” Variety


Documentary, Germany/ England/ Romania 2015 (83 min.)


Director: Ilinca Calugareanu
Production: Vernon Films Production
Co-Production: Kloos & Co. Medien GmbH Berlin & WDR
Distribution: Rise and Shine Cinema


Festivals (Selection): Sundance Film Festival, Hot Docs Toronto, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, Stockholm International Film Festival, Seatle International Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival