Civil Society Pitch 5 selects its winner at One World Romania 17, after a public pitch on April 13
28 March 2024

Civil Society Pitch, the intensive development program for documentary filmmakers and NGO representatives organized by One World Romania Association, is approaching the finish line for its 5th edition, with a public pitch during One World Romania International Documentary & Human Rights Film Festival. Five projects have reached the final phase of the program and they all have a chance to win an award of 4,000 Euros for development.

The pitch takes place on April 13, from 11:30 AM, at the Czech Centre Bucharest (11 Ion Ghica Street), with free admission, while the winner will be announced during the festival’s Closing Gala, also on April 13, from 7:00 PM, at Eforie Cinematheque (2 Eforie Street).

The jury is comprised of Romanian documentary producer Elena Martin, who also guided the projects during the follow-up workshop phase of the program in November 2023; Bulgarian producer Martichka Bozhilova, director of Balkan Documentary Center and Sofia DocuMental Film Festival and founder of the Balkan Watchers program (launched during One World Romania 17); and Slovak filmmaker Viera Čákanyová, who will present her new film Notes from Eremocene at the festival.



Sunbirds – Fanni Hatházi (Hungary) & Romanian Ornithological Society (Romania): Sunbirds follows Reese, a transgender teenager, as he finds comfort and self-discovery through birdwatching in the gray metropolis of Bucharest, guided by his bird-family at the Societatea Ornitologică Română, before embarking on a life-changing journey to Canada.

Life on pause – Anthoniy Hristov & Single Step (Bulgaria): How do you exist in a country whose entire legal and administrative system does not recognize your existence? Life on pause is a creative documentary about Gabriela, Eda and Valentin, three young and vibrant transgender people, as they strive to fight state discrimination, assert their personhood and claim their place in society against all odds in Bulgaria, Europe’s human rights frontier.

White, Green and Queer – Kosta Karakashyan & Deystvie (Bulgaria): From secrecy to pride, White, Green and Queer uncovers Bulgaria’s hidden LGBTQ+ history and struggles through archives and first-hand accounts, challenging the notion of queerness in Bulgaria as a recent import from the West.

Demon on four wheels – Alexandru Ioan Oiță (Romania): Ciprian, after a life-changing event, decides to devote himself completely to rally motorsport, but the need for financial support stands in his way to reach the performance he wants. Considering how many hard times Ciprian has been through, his motivation and strength make him a champion for thousands of people, including the director of the film, who asks for his help to support his father, who went through a similar situation.

Spread your wings / Când mintea zboară – Anelise Sălan & Romanian Ornithological Society (Romania): In an attempt to overcome her severe anxiety issues triggered by her divorce, a single mom with two daughters is trying birdwatching as a form of therapy.


Program coordinator Raluca R. Gorgos says the five finalist projects “tackle profound social issues, showcasing resilient individuals who persistently combat social atomization and advocate for a more compassionate future where diversity thrives without censure. These stories unfold progressively, recovering at the same time parts of the history of some communities that continue to be marginalized, such as the LGBTQIA+ community, people grappling with severe anxiety and depression, or with mobility impairment, thereby emphasizing their rightful place in contemporary society.”

The pitch is devised as a public networking event where anyone in the film industry and the general public can learn more about these upcoming projects. We emphasize how important it is – even more so in the context of a national film industry where documentaries are still severely under-funded and under-recognized – for these filmmakers to receive support from their peers. So do join us in welcoming these projects for the first time out in the open! Each director will present a trailer and 7 minutes of pitch, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A where the jury and the audience can ask additional questions about each project.

The projects have come a long way since being selected in the program in March 2023, when 16 NGO representatives and 18 directors took part in the first stage of the program – three days dedicated to matchmaking and shaping a documentary film story. Participants were mentored by documentary filmmakers Mona Nicoară, Oliver Sertic and Radu Ciorniciuc, along with anthropologists Ileana Szasz and Bogdan Iancu. After several months of mentoring sessions, a follow-up workshop took place in November, aiming to bring the projects closer to development; here, they were guided by documentary producer Elena Martin and documentary filmmaker and One World Romania co-founder Alexandru Solomon.




One World Romania Association


Administration of the National Cultural Fund


Balkan Documentary Center (Bulgaria), VERZIO International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival (Hungary), MOLDOX Lab (Republic of Moldova), National University of Theatre and Film "I.L. Caragiale", National University of Arts Bucharest, Master of Anthropology SNSPA, Master of Visual Studies and Society SNSPA (Romania)


Czech Centre Bucharest, KAS Rule of Law Programme South East Europe

The program does not necessarily represent the position of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the program, nor for the manner in which the results of the program might be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the grant.


Civil Society Pitch is an intensive one-year program designed to foster collaboration between non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and filmmakers from Bulgaria, Hungary, the Republic of Moldova, and Romania. The goal of the program is to facilitate a dialogue between activists and visual storytellers and to launch new documentary film projects that address human rights and social issues.