Sinopsis: Imaginary Youth follows three teenagers through their final years of high school, before, during, and after the Covid confinement. While pondering about leaving Romania after they finish school, Una – an actress, Habet – a trapper and Stefania – an environmental activist get caught in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis. Personal dramas and dilemmas unfold, as the three try to make sense of growing up and what’s happening around them. Who’s gonna make it?

Director’s notes: Imaginary Youth is teen reality in a nutshell. Our focus throughout the movie is how teens navigate through life, before, during and after Covid. The big topics take on school and societal pressure to achieve, own expectations and fears of failure, going from mental health/teen anxiety, to family issues, to drug use or the impact and consequences of Covid on teenagers. I brought together three very different adolescents at the age of their first big decisions. I followed them closely as they were gradually discovering themselves, sharing this feeling of (in)finite possibilities inherent to their age. At the same time, they all start to realize how their home country is rendering dreaming difficult and they start wishing of being “elsewhere”. Dealing with teen life might seem carefree and easy going, because they are entertaining or we feel they want to be entertained. But, actually, stopping for a while inside their lives, giving them a moment or two to express themselves in their most intimate ways, we find out that our adolescents – and many more like them – find themselves to be “out of place”. And that’s where the stakes of Imaginary Youth are high.

“When I started working on Imaginary Youth, it never occurred to me that my life and the lives of the teenagers I was following so closely are going to almost merge. An observational is never an easy story, but ours was facing a pandemic in the middle of it. A crisis that changed the course of all our lives, and that transformed the story into something we weren’t expecting. We were there for each other throughout this process, we stuck together, and that’s one of the things that makes me proud, and that adds weight to how and why documentaries really matter. We faced so many uncertainties – as director, as characters, as people dealing with real life – but the trust we luckily managed to build pushed those realities further, in front of the public, standing witness for almost five years of not so imaginary life of youth.”

Director: Ruxandra Gubernat
Screenwriter: Ruxandra Gubernat, Henry Rammelt, Irina Dobriță
Cinematographer: Andrei Dudea
Editor: Robert Bitay
Producers: Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan, Elena Martin
Co-producers: Avanpost Media, Patrupetrei, Ruxandra Gubernat – Rammelt PFA
With: Ștefania Gârțu, Habet Ionuț, Una Toma
Genre: Documentary
Duration: 84 minutes
Release in cinemas: 20 September 2024