Hi everyone,

My name is Laurentiu Garofeanu, and I am a filmmaker from Bucharest, Romania. I lived in London and New York City for 15 years. I've done social and human-interest stories for international news corporations and documentaries for leading television networks including broadcasters such as TLC, Discovery, National Geographic & HBO.

I’m currently working on Lost and Found, a documentary about the wave of adoptions in Romania during the 90's and early 00's.

The film is following Jessi Froud, a vibrant young Canadian journalist, travelling the world to expose the post-communism practice of selling Romanian babies to adoptive parents by exploring the fate of Romanian children born to families too poor to care for them.

You can watch a trailer for the project on the project’s website.
Answering questions are me Laurentiu as the filmmaker, Jessi Froud the Canadian journalist, herself an adoptee from Romania, and Denisa Morariu Tamas, a TV journalist from Bucharest, Romania who has been researching similar adoption cases for years.

Ask us anything about our experiences, about that period of time, about the business of selling children for adoption, about the film, about documentary filmmaking in general or anything else you can think of! And if you have stories to share that touch on this, we're all ears. We'll be here to answer questions from 7pm CET.

Proof: https://twitter.com/LGarofeanu/status/1364212507318116355?s=20

Comments: 74 • Responses: 12  • Date: 

Globbler2016 karma

What do you hope to achieve with your film?

Laurentiu_Garofeanu33 karma

Thanks for your question.
As the director, like with other peojects i work on, I'm trying to first of all start a conversation. It's important for a nation, community, just like a person to go throught therapy in order to heal throumas caused by whatever events.
There are a lot of people who either are on denial or don't like to talk about the sensitive issues. I am hoping this would be hart of the healing process.
The more people know about these issues, the better, awarness is another key aspect of what we are aiming for.
The last, and it's more like and ideal, is to change so,ething in the system and the children that need care to be looked after in a better way.
A lot of issues have spilled after the adoptions spopped and many children are trapped without having a chance to be adopted.

ga43877 karma

Where did romanian people found the babies? They most get the babies from somewhere.
And this system was while there also were legal adoptions?

Laurentiu_Garofeanu9 karma

There were a lot of 'good adoptions', legal ones, saving a lot of children from very poor living situations in the orphanages. At the beginning, quiate a lot of disabled children were adopted, given the opportunity for a better life.

As time went on, more and more people came to adopt and Romanian people working in the system started to take advantage from the situation.
Many adoption agencies set up shop to help these parents adopt, some international.

Laurentiu_Garofeanu7 karma

It all started with the children found in the orphanages after Ceausescu's regime fell in dec 1989, news reports from around the rold came and didf reports on them, such as BBC in the UK and 20/20 in USA. Most people remember these images.

lpez336 karma

Hi- I was born in Romania in 1987 and was adopted and came to the states when I was almost 4 years old. Do you have any advice on finding information about my biological parents/family? Thanks!

Laurentiu_Garofeanu5 karma

https://www.facebook.com/theneverforgottenromanianchildren/

for sure, the best place for this kind of support is:
https://www.facebook.com/theneverforgottenromanianchildren/
They have a great team in place that help a lot of adopteed connect with birth families.

lpez333 karma

This is awesome! Thank you so much for your quick reply and especially for the work you do as well! I am planning to return to my birth town in Gura Humorului. I would like to give back to my community in some fashion. Do you have any recommendations on how to go about this? Thank you, again! Noroc!

Laurentiu_Garofeanu6 karma

Not really sure what you have in mind, but there would be lots of ways to give back to the community. Gura Humorului is a very beautiful place in Romania, and once you reconnect, it will be revealed to you. It's great you have this attitude. That's a great start :)

tankertodd5 karma

Is there in place a process where grown adoptee children can find their birth parents? Is that even possible, or did the process hide/obscure the connections?

Laurentiu_Garofeanu3 karma

There are several facebook groups that offer the infrastructure to do just that
Romanian Adoptive Families
Adopted From Romania :)
https://www.facebook.com/theneverforgottenromanianchildren/

two_brothers_legend4 karma

Super . Mult succes ! Consider că România iese din postcomunism in anii aceștia 20' . În multe țări , legal se pot căsători doua persoane de același sex . Crezi că asta influențează "piața" de copii ? Crezi că părinții , ambii masculi , urmăresc să adopte un copil chiar și pe cai ilegale ? Faptul că sunt politicieni LGBT influențează cumva "piata" ?

Laurentiu_Garofeanu5 karma

Nu cred ca are legatura, adoptiile au fost oprite cu multi ani in urma, momentan cele internationale sunt aproape de zero. Sunt oameni care fac lobby sa schimbe asta si sa redeschida granitele catre international.
E greu sa aduci in discutie situatia persoanelor care fac parte din LGBTQ in 'piata' care momentan nici nu mai exista. Sper ca asta a raspuns intrebarii tale.

Onepopcornman4 karma

Hey, so it sounds like there are some similar themes in your film to One Child Nation (Nanfu Wang) which focuses on the one Child policy in China and the many Western adoptions that followed.

I am curious if you are aware of that film, and if so do you feel like your film is in conversation with it given the cross over in topic of the film (international adoption, communism, poverty, etc.).

.

Separately, how has been trying to publish a film mid pandemic? What extra challenges does that present.

Laurentiu_Garofeanu9 karma

Hi, yes, I am aware of Nanfu's film, it's a very important documentary on the same topic.
China, Vietnam, South American countries had the same issue as the Eastern Europe ones like Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania.

Our film has a similar aproach to the similar problem.
We are hoping to open a conversation about the recent, post communistic past.
It's really amazing how many people do not know about these issues, in Romania but more so abroad.
It's not a shamfull past, it's a painful one and i think it's important to talk about it.
In order for us to move forward and hopefully don't make the same mistakes.

in respect to the pandemic, yes, it's a big issue for us like any other documentary filmmekers. We were suppose to film in 2020 but we totally got stuck because of the restrictions imposed.
We are working now on making a plan to start again.
Anyhow, you probably know in developing a documentary takes anywhere between 3-5 years without the pandemic.
Our film should be open to public in 2022 the soonest.

Hope that answers your questions

Onepopcornman4 karma

Thanks! Good luck, I know its a lot of hard work. I hope to see you on the festival circuit when it's ready!

Laurentiu_Garofeanu3 karma

Thanks a lot, I appreciate your good thoughts.
I'll keep posting here, news about the production.
I am really glad people are interested in the topic, it's really important for us the filmmakers.

I would also be interested to know what you've like to see discuss in the film.

tasker_morris4 karma

As a documentary filmmaker, what makes you choose a subject to make a film about? Or do you feel like the subject “chooses you” instead?

Laurentiu_Garofeanu8 karma

I think, like any creative process, there are several ways to choose a subject.
In this case, as i was away from Romania for 15 years, coming back I realized how many issues weren't covered in the main stream media.
I am interested in working on human interest stories, I love people and I think every person has an amazing stories to tell.
In the past i have worked with homeless people, people with dizabilities, discrimination, but not only, extreme and new sports.

needtotoucheachstone4 karma

Do you interview only the children and families that were directly affected or also other members of society from different age groups as well? I m asking because I have grown up in Romania and most of the times when I tried to open up any subject before the 00 my parents, teachers and grandparents tend to end the subject very quickly (and this is a fact for most subjects concerning their past). How does the society react? What are the differences between the new generations and the old ones? Does it matter if they live in the city or village?

Laurentiu_Garofeanu3 karma

If i understand correctly, you are asking if i develop other projects regarding topics that have to do with Romania's recent history?
Not for this project, but yea i work on different documentary ideas that i have, most of them are related to the post communistic age somehow.
I worked with homeless people, and they tell some amazing stories
People with disabilities, same.
Also people who have a goal in mind, like climbing the tallest buildings or enter a new sport. There are so many many areas to explore, so many good ideas, interesting people.
There are other other good documentary filmmakers that explore our heritage and contemporary topics. I would be more them happy to give you a few examples if you need.

Syllabub19812 karma

How much for a baby?

Laurentiu_Garofeanu3 karma

There were various sums from a few hundred to many thousands.