‘Pe-un Picior de iad’ Scoops Gold

The Antena 3 documentary program La premiera cu Carmen Avram just won a prestigious gold award at the NewYork Festival’s World’s Best Television and Films in Las Vegas. Carmen collected the award for Best Camerawork on behalf of her team. Cristian Tamas is the gifted cameraman responsible for the amazing images shown during the report ‘Pe-un Picior de iad’. The award winning feature focused on the plight of some 5,000 people that survive on a large garbage dump near Cluj in conditions that beggar belief.

Carmen gave some insights into the challenges that her crew had faced making the program in her acceptance speech. She praised Cristian for keeping the camera steady with small creatures crawling on his legs and the presenter Carmen Moise for elegantly declining grilled meat extracted directly from the garbage by saying she had already eaten.

In her (understandably) emotional acceptance speech Carmen also made the point that the TV station is only eight years old and that the show has only been in production for two years. To win an international gold medal recognizing excellence is a remarkable achievement for Carmen and her team, and will hopefully inspire them to even greater achievements. The quality of the camerawork and editing shine out from the show. The final point that Carmen made was that she hoped that the politicians would now do something to rescue these people from their terrible existence. A sad fact is that from what the program illustrated is that the people that are trying to help on the ground are expatriates, not local government.

We watched the show and wholeheartedly agree – anywhere else in Europe and this would be a scandal on a huge scale. The children that survive these incredible conditions are uneducated and have no real future other than crime and the adults are resigned to eking out a living in their version of hell. The title of the show is a play on the words from a well known Romanian poem Miorita where the original line is ‘pe-un picior de plai pe-o gura de rai’. Loosely translated the original line means ‘with one leg in heaven’ whilst the title of the show translates as ‘one leg in hell’. It will be interesting to see if anything is ever done to help these victims of political neglect and indifference.

In an age where news reporting seems to focus on sport, traffic and the weather this show stands out for its gritty reporting of issues around Romania. The show is aired on Sunday evenings between 21:00 and 22:00 on Antena 3. It’s a good chance to learn about issues affecting Romanian people at all levels of society and a good way to brush up on your Romanian if you feel so inclined.

We congratulate Carmen and her team for winning such a prestigious award after so few years of producing the show and wish them every success in bringing similar issues to light.