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"Lemonade," the new feature film by Assistant Professor Ioana Uricaru, will premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival later this month.

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Professor’s Film to Premiere at Berlin International Film Festival

February 9, 2018

Ioana Uricaru

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – When the 68th Berlin International Film Festival (the Berlinale) opens on February 15, Assistant Professor of Film and Media Culture Ioana Uricaru will take her place among some of the world’s top directors. Uricaru’s feature film Lemonade is an official selection in the Panorama section of the Berlinale, which ranks with Cannes and Venice as one of the most important film festivals. The Berlin event will be Lemonade’s world premiere, showing at six primetime screenings over the 10-day festival.

According to Uricaru, the judges had seen an early, “unpolished” version of the film, which was finished in late December. “It was very flattering to know that in such a crazy competitive environment we managed to impress even before we were completely ready.”

Lemonade, which has been in the works for eight years, seems prescient for current times. The English-language film tells the story of Mara, a single mother from Romania, who, while on a temporary work visa in the U.S., marries an American man she met just a few months earlier. Things don’t go as planned with her green card application and Mara is faced with abuses of power and excruciating decisions about what she’s willing to do to obtain legal status.

“It just so happens that the film will come out in the world at a moment when its topics—immigration, sexual assault, power and gender—are in the headlines and on our minds, especially in the U.S.,” said Uricaru. “It seems that the film has developed with the times, and the things I wanted to talk about, which were always there, have come to prominence just as Lemonade was being shaped.”

In an ironic twist, while the story takes place in upstate New York, the film was actually shot in Quebec. “We couldn’t find a legal way to bring European crew and actors to the U.S. for the shoot,” said Uricaru.

During the Berlinale, the film’s U.S. and world sales reps will be looking for international distribution. The film will have premieres in the four countries of co-production: Romania, Germany, Sweden, and the U.S., says Uricaru. “Berlin is the meeting point of international cinema in February, and it's also a major film market so we hope that our world sales rep, Pluto Film, will sign contracts with distributors from around the world.”

Uricaru hopes to announce a Middlebury screening of the film later this year.