I was born in Romania of 1967, an only son of former political dissidents of the Stalinist era. My mother and her parents spent many years in a Communist labor camp after their land was nationalized under the Russian occupation. My father took part in an anti-Communist movement during the same period. His youthful naiveté landed him in prison for "anti-revolutionary activities" for seven years. 1952 – 1959. History and politics were present at the dinner table with us troughout my childhood. Radio "Free Europe" was the family bible, so my fascination with the world outside the "workers paradise" started early.
My teenage years, the eighties, were some of the most depressing times in the history of my country. The insane policies of Nicolae Ceausescu took the country to ruin. Food and heating shortages created a very frustrated populous, resulting in a very tightly run police state. From teenage years I knew that the political background of my parents will ban me from college or any managerial position. With little hope for a better future, I decided that I will find a way to leave Romania.
At eighteen I joined the Romanian Army for two years. I became a battery specialist for a tank battalion. The military life taught me a lot of discipline and structure. In the meantime, my father Paul Andriescu died of leukemia. I was nineteen at the time.
After two failed attempts to cross the border illegally, that landed me in jail for a few months, I finally made it to Austria in the summer of 1989. The Austrian government granted me refugee status, the right to reside and work in the country. In the same time the speeches of President Reagan challenging the "Evil Empire" made a tremendous impression on me. I decided to do everything in my power to make America my next homeland. Fate was on my side, in 1990 I obtained political asylum from the US Embassy in Vienna, and a few months later I landed in Los Angeles.
I started my new life in California, living with family friends. After some college classes in electrical engineering, I found work repairing Xerox machines. In 1996 I started my own business, Laptops For Less, Inc. Running a business was a great experience, and I was blessed with some financial success. "Laptops for Less" was marketing aftermarket computer accessories to the general public. The business flourished, employed 16 great people, but after eight years I was ready for something new.
By the 2004 I sold my business, and decided to pursue my childhood dream of investigative journalism. After taking a number of film production classes I embarked on the making of "The World without US". During 2005 and 2006 we started the production. My film making partner Jason Tomaric and I, traveled to over twenty countries and interviewed over 40 people from all walks of life. By August 2007 the film was finished and is now available on Netflix, and Amazon. It has also been broadcasted on eight TV stations in Europe and the Middle East.
At the beginning of 2009 I embarked on a new Documentary film project: "China's Century of Humiliation". I have been interested and fascinated by the Chinese culture for a very long time. As China is re-emerging on the world scene, I wanted to to make a film that will make this country and culture more accessible to the Western public. See more at China-TheDocumentary.com
(Picture taken in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia with production assistant Chagan Chen.)