Initiated and co-presented by the Romanian Film Initiative, in partnership for its 13th edition with BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) and the Jacob Burns Film Center, MAKING WAVES: New Romanian Cinema is the leading comprehensive US festival dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the best in Romanian contemporary cinema, as well as rarely seen classics.

From its start in 2006, the Romanian Film Festival in New York was nourished by the belief that the Romanian cinema deserves to be exposed on a sustainable basis to American audiences. Under the leadership of cultural entrepreneur Corina Șuteu, with Mihai Chirilov as artistic director and Oana Radu as festival manager, the festival has been growing by leaps and bounds, becoming a fixture on the city’s cultural scene, and helping “define and establish the southeastern European country as a stronghold of socially incisive, independently minded personal cinema” (Wall Street Journal). With each edition it attracted a larger and dedicated following and built a strong recognition among US film professionals. The festival has also enjoyed a consistent coverage in the media, from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, through Variety to Indiewire.

In 2012, when political and cultural policy changes in Romanian jeopardized the existence of the festival, the team that initiated and organized since 2006 the yearly Romanian film festival in New York launched the independent Romanian Film Initiative (RFI) and undertook to fundraise and organize the festival in partnership with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and to preserve its critical and creative spirit. Since that year, Making Waves has been a fully independent festival of Romanian contemporary cinema and culture, made possible through the support of numerous institutional funders and individual donors, including a large number of Romanian artists who believe that audiences at home and abroad deserve unfettered access to the best of Romanian contemporary culture.

Since 2012, the festival has also added to its lineup a special program on the relationship between arts and politics, and on freedom of expression in Romania and other Eastern European countries. Entitled “Creative Freedom through Cinema,” it has presented screenings and panel conversations with artists and critics from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Russia, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, and Lithuania.


Photo: Julie Cunnah

Spearheaded by the Romanian Film Initiative, the festival has been co-presented in partnership with leading American film organizations, which include the Jacob Burns Film Center (since 2013), and the Film Society of Lincoln Center (2011-2015). In 2017, Making Waves launched a new partnership with another leading New York City film institution – BAM Film.

The Romanian Film Initiative came together in 2012 to safeguard the existence and the spirit of the Romanian film festival in New York, redesigned as Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema, and co-presented with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Created by Corina Șuteu, Mihai Chirilov, and Oana Radu, the core team that initiated the festival in 2006 and has organized it ever since, RFI is a flagship of Film ETC. Association in Bucharest. Along with the continuation and expansion of Making Waves, RFI aims to develop and contribute to other projects interested in promoting Romanian cinema in the U.S., and the professionalization of the cultural sector in Romania and internationally.

 Since 1998 BAM Rose Cinemas has been Brooklyn’s home for alternative, documentary, art-house and independent films. Combining new releases with a year-round repertory program, the four-screen venue hosts new and rarely seen contemporary films, classics, work by local artists and festivals of films from around the world, often with special appearances by directors, actors and other guests. Since 2009, the program has also produced BAMcinemaFest, New York’s home for American independent film, and has championed the work of filmmakers like Janicza Bravo, Andrew Dosunmu, Lena Dunham and Alex Ross Perry.

The Jacob Burns Film Center is a nonprofit cultural arts organization dedicated to: presenting the best of independent, documentary, and world cinema; promoting 21st century literacy, and making film a vibrant part of the community. Located on a 47,500 sq. foot, three-building campus in the center of Pleasantville, the JBFC is just 30 miles outside of New York City. Since opening in 2001, over 2,000,000 people have seen over 5,400 films from more than 40 countries. The campus includes the 27,000 sq. foot Media Arts Lab, the JBFC’s state-of-the-art education center, a creative and educational community for storytellers in the digital age that offers one-time workshops, intensive courses, and weekend programs for children and adults of all ages.


Artwork by Matei Branea

Corina Șuteu, Festival President; Mihai Chirilov, Artistic Director; Oana Radu, Festival Manager, Romanian Film Initiative; Brian Ackerman, Founding Director of Programming, Jacob Burns Film Center; Gina Duncan, VP for Cinema, Brooklyn Academy of Music

The continuation and expansion of Making Waves has also been supported by an Honorary Board, which is made up of Scott Foundas of Amazon Studios; actor Andi Vasluianu, our Festival Ambassador; visual artist Adrian Ghenie; documentary filmmaker and human rights activist Mona Nicoară; visual artist Dan Perjovschi; and festival friend Dr. Daiana Voiculescu.

RFI team includes: