Adrian Țofei was born on July 20, 1987, in Rădăuți, Romania. His father died when he was six, and his mother, Dorina Țofei, supported him watching movies from an early age. 2001: A Space Odyssey left a strong impression on Adrian as a teen, who began researching film history in his spare time. He then studied acting (Ion Cojar‘s method) at Lower Danube University of Galați and continued with a master’s degree in theatrical art at Spiru Haret University of Bucharest. He directed, produced, wrote and performed in various plays, most notably The Monster, which went to multiple festivals.
In 2013, Adrian abandoned theatre, wrote the Found Footage Manifesto and plunged into filmmaking and film acting. He directed, produced, wrote and starred in Romania’s first found footage horror feature film, Be My Cat: A Film for Anne (2015). The movie went to numerous festivals and won multiple awards and critical acclaim, including Best Film at A Night of Horror Film Festival in Sydney and Best Actor for Adrian at Nashville Film Festival. It was called “terrifying” by Austin Chronicle and “a new intelligent found footage film you need to see” by Blumhouse, got listed by Dread Central in “top 5 best horror movies of 2016” and holds a fresh score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Adrian Țofei’s filmmaking method consists of working for months on an alternative psychological reality for the actors including himself, partially living in character, so that when they start improvising, Adrian mainly needs to record the unfolding events and to make sure the improvisation goes in the right direction. There is no script, only plot points. Adrian Țofei shoots tens of hours of footage guerrilla style and then he watches the footage like a documentary filmmaker would and creates the details of the story in post-production during the editing process. This method of filmmaking can lead to incredibly creative and realistic results in terms of both acting and storytelling, but it’s almost impossible to work in the system this way. Since there’s no script, Adrian has no traditional ways to convince investors and production companies to finance his films, other than the success of his previous works. Therefore he relies on crowdfunding and those who appreciate his films and trust his method.
He has been married to actress and screenwriter Duru Yücel-Țofei since January 22, 2017. They are starring together in Adrian’s upcoming apocalyptic feature We Put the World to Sleep, and they also wrote together the screenplay for the feature film project Good Girl. The movie Dr. Frankenstein (a contemporary adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel) and the anthology series Film Crazy (a spin-off of We Put the World to Sleep) are in development as well.