(Updated Version of Romanian Outreach)
In spring 2009, I found myself on a train around Romania with Ella Veres. We had a lot of DVDs of my documentary GYPSY CARAVAN, and a crazy schedule of towns and villages expecting us to present the film in the next 6 weeks.
. We didn't intend to make a video of the trip, but here are some tidbits (edited by Nathan Austin) to give a taste of the way the film showed in: villages, schools, universities, prisons, festivals, community centers, NGOs and more....
. Before leaving New York, I'd worked with Ella (an artist/educator/writer of Romanian/Hungarian/Romani origin) and we'd prepared discussion guides for people watching the film or facilitating conversations afterwards, and all kinds of feedback questionnaires.
. In fact, this whole outreach effort was prompted by the feedback of a Romani woman at a film festival in Transylvania – addressing an audience of 800, she insisted that I must subtitle the film in Romanian and show it in schools and communities to help challenge unhelpful ugly "Gypsy" stereotypes.
. We hope to continue this effort in other countries soon... It was exhausting!!! but satisfying.
~ Jasmine Dellal, New York, August 2009
[This grassroots outreach effort was made possible by the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romani CRISS, B-Est Festival, & many others in Romania (see video end credits). Thanks also to: Tawnya Foskett, Mediarights.org, TIFF, Mona Nicoara, Inessa Spencer, Skye, Leslie Hawke...]
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EXCERPTS from AUDIENCE FEEDBACK FORMS
@ Gypsy Caravan Educational Screenings in Romania:
I’ll try and judge each person by his deeds, I won’t generalize based on his ethnicity.
- Tania LG, Romanian student
It was wonderful. Let’s tell them we are people too!
- Amina R, Roma pupil
It made me realize again that God made us equal and we should not forget this.
- Maria C, Romanian student
I was very glad. I want to be the best Gypsy ever.
- Carlitos N, Roma pupil
I was stunned. I didn’t expect that a film would change my opinion about Roma, but it did. The film should be screened more often, to show the other side of Roma.
- Ana C, Romanian student
The film was awesome. For sure it has changed my opinion about Roma. I will tell many people about this film. For sure it will change their opinion about Roma.
- Silvia U, Romanian student
It was a wonderful experience (entertaining and all that) but foremost educational. We could make people understand that the Roma are people too, for God’s sake!
- Diana P, Romanian student
This film showed me that the Roma are very valuable, talented people who deserve to be appreciated. We need to learn to respect and treat them as normal people, not like savage beasts.
- Andrea G, Romanian student
I got shivers, I burst into tears and I laughed with tears!!!!! We should get to know deeper their culture to better accept and appreciate them.
- Sabin R, Romanian student
I didn’t expect to be so emotional. But I knew it would be a full house. Congratulations! More movies of this kind and other cultural events bringing to public attention the importance of Rroma, would help stop the discrimination against them.
- Ela D, Romanian student
Alone, as one person, you can’t do much to change the situation, but together with someone else, projects like this one could be launched to show the values and traditions of Rroma.
- Andrada P, Romanian student
This film should be watched by all high school students and, if possible, by the rest of the population. Then, it would be good if authorities would deal more with this problem and find a way in which to inform people about the Roma’s culture.
- Andrea MP, Romanian student
Screening this film in schools is the first step to improving the perspective of those who discriminate. It’s difficult to change an opinion once it takes root in the minds of the masses. It’s necessary to present more facets of Rroma life so that the understanding process becomes easier.
- Roxana C, Romanian student
Before this event I wished for the continuation of discrimination against Roma, because of those living in my hometown. But now I’m convinced that nomadic Gypsies truly know what life is and fully benefit from it. ...So I propose that this kind of movie should be promoted to show us that real Roma know how to enjoy themselves and that their ways have benefits.
- Andrea EL, Romanian student
The film is very well directed and organized. It presents very beautifully the tour they did, and lets us get to know them a bit too. I enjoyed it a lot. I think that a lot of people should watch it. Roma are not bad, but different, like everybody else. It is necessary to socialize with them, to become friends so we can communicate and get to know each other.
- Cora B, Romanian student
A shiver of excitement that lasted for 120 min!!!
I would have been so proud if I were a Gypsy! ☺
- Mihaela K, Bulgarian visual artist
It was a unique experience. I’ve learned a lot about Roma through this film. Roma must be included in certain social integration programs. Not all of them are thieves. Just some, and the world thinks that they are all like that.
- Andrei A, Romanian student
I felt compassion for the Roma since they suffered so much discrimination. I think that it would be helpful to distribute materials like this, which show that Roma are not as bad as the world believes them to be.
- Stefan M, Romanian student
Parents shouldn’t tell their children when they are small that, “the Gypsies will steal them,” because automatically the kid will have a bad impression of those people. Some are good, some are less good. They shouldn’t all be thrown in the same pot.
- Alina A, Romanian student
We can show the real values of Rroma, not just the negative things. This film I think does exactly that, and I think it should be broadcast on national television too.
- Alina G, Romanian student
It was interesting. Let us convince people that we are honest. - Larisa Z, Roma pupil
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