Category Archives: On our work

I’m Going into Rehab

Tomorrow I will be admitted into Castle Craig Rehab Clinic as an addict. For ten days I will join a community of alcoholics, drug addicts, therapists and medics – and be asked to open up about the psychological issues that caused my addiction. My mobile, laptop and Kindle will be taken away from me and I will be expected to stay on the campus 24/7. Continue reading

Very Simple & Incredibly Complicated

We recently celebrated the launch of Castle Craig’s new Romanian website by having dinner at a fish restaurant in Bucharest called Happy Fish. I had the dorada. Continue reading

Alcoholics Anonymous: The Greatest Event of the Twentieth Century

Although I have never been a member of an Alcoholics Anonymous group, I have participated in a few “open meetings” (where non-members can attend) and each one has been inspiring in its own way. The best one was held in a park in Cluj — the meeting room was closed — where six of us sat on old tin cans and bits of wood and shared our stories from that week.  There was a great feeling of camaraderie (or community) among them. Continue reading

A Guide to Addiction Treatment in Romania


It’s not easy finding treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction in Romania. I know this because I have been looking for addiction treatment services in this country over the last year. You may be wondering why I’m looking for treatment (are you wondering if I’m addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling or sex?). Continue reading

Expats and Addiction

castlecraigBeing an addicted expat is no joke. A typical expat has a demanding job and a family that may be extended across two countries. They tend to come under a lot of pressure and many find escape in drink or drugs.

Back home it’s easier to confront the problem and get help. It’s easier to approach a doctor, priest or therapist about an addiction when there are no linguistic and cultural barriers in the way. It’s less scary to confront the boss if both of you are living in the same town, as compared to a skilled expat in whom the company has high expectations. The tendency among expat addicts is to conceal their addiction, suppress their sense of shame, avoid discussing the problem or getting professional help, and to indulge in ‘self-medication’. Continue reading

“The most exciting filming I ever did”

After The Revolution was recently shown at the One World Romania Documentary Festival and we’ve also made new DVDs with the film, available upon request. Below you can read and interview with Laurentiu about how it took him 20 years to make this film. And this is our cool DVD cover, by Tudor Matei.


To see the trailer on YouTube please click here

What follows is an interview with the director of this documentary (Laurentiu Calciu), first published by the Marseilles Film Festival where “”After the Revolution” was launched.

The origin of the project?
The origin of the project is as obscure as the origin of the revolution itself. I had been saving money for a video camera for about ten years, hoping to make independent films one day – fiction, as documentary would have been impossible under Communism. It was dangerous even to take photographs in the street in those days, forget about filming. I had sent the money through somebody to a friend in Berlin, in the autumn of 1989. He bought me a VHS Panasonic M7, which was the only consumer camera at that time. It arrived by post the week before the 21st of December, when the revolution had already started in Timisoara, a city in the West of Romania. Continue reading

Why no Romanian documentary about 1989?

army-1990-1I am making a documentary film about the events that took place in January 1990, using an extraordinary archive of material that was filmed by Laurentiu Calciu, who got a video camera just after the revolution. We have some fascinating material of ordinary people on the streets furiously debating about all things political, social and economic. The material is filmed with a patience that gives an insight into what people were thinking just after Ceausescu fell.

The first thing one must do when making a documentary film is to research the subject. This involves watching any existing films as well as footage (unedited Continue reading

Digging a hole

1989Making films is probably the most boring profession in the world — as well as the most glamorous.  They say making films is like going to war: lots of hanging around while not knowing what the hell is going on; and then a sudden, brief, unsatisfactory burst of action.

Although documentaries are generally more boring than feature films they can be more interesting to make.  When making observational documentaries, you follow an interesting character around and let him tell the story; this means you constantly hear unexpected things, get led into unexpected places, meet new people — none of which would be possible in a feature film in which every word, gesture and action is controlled. Continue reading

Seminars suck

seminars-boringI am sitting in a Ministry of Culture seminar about film making and it has all the hallmarks of a rotten event: a huge queue at the registry desk (but nobody saying hello), nowhere for coats, coffee servers arguing among themselves, an electrical fault that the secretary of state loudly complains about, doors that squeak horribly every time someone comes in (and there was a constant flow of latecomers), a loud buzzing noise from the speakers and technical problems with the presentations.
Continue reading

How to get a grant

roma_comunity_montenegroWhen I was in Montenegro recently I checked into a small guest house and asked if they had internet. “Of course we do” boomed the big cheery lady who runs the place, but when I tried to get online it didn’t work. I asked for help and she went to fetch the Siberian who was living with his wife on the floor below. “He knows English” she cried as she hurried down the frozen stone steps.

A small, alert and friendly young man came in and tried to help me connect. But it still didn’t work, and we ended up on the outside terrace which was the only place (apart from his room) where the wireless signal actually did work. We sat there for hours, despite the rain and cold, and I learned about Siberia.  Continue reading