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2011, US/Switzerland/Romania, 94 minutes
Grand Jury Prize for Best US Feature, SILVERDOCS 2011
Best International Feature, HUMAN RIGHTS ARTS AND FILM FESTIVAL 2012
Graine de Cinéphage Award, FILMS DE FEMMES 2012
Best Eastern European Documentary nomination for SILVER EYE AWARD 2011
Best Romanian Documentary nomination at the GOPO AWARDS 2012
FESTIVALS: Visions du Reel, Tribeca, Thessaloniki Dok Fest, SilverDocs, DokuFest, DokLeipzig, CPH:DOX, Guth Gafa, Transylvania International Film Festival, One World Prague, EIDF South Korea, Camden International Film Festival, Noaptea Alba a Filmului Romanesc, Verzio, UNAFF, One World Slovakia, Document 9 Glasgow, Astra, Lone Star International Film Festival, Inconvenient Films, Romanian Film Festival at Lincoln Center Film Society, Documentarist Istanbul, Watch Docs, This Human World. Trieste, Solothurner FilmTage, Etoiles Francphones, One World Romania. Movies That Matter, Cape Winelands South Africa, Sebastopol Doc Fest, Films de Femmes, Diversite, Human Rights Arts and Film Festival Australia
OUR SCHOOL follows three Roma (commonly known as "Gypsy") children in a rural Transylvanian village who are among the pioneer participants in an initiative to integrate the ethnically segregated Romanian schools. When their school is desegregated, Alin, Benjamin, and Dana set out for the city school, optimistic for education and new friendships, even as funds earmarked for integration are questionably used to build a "Roma-only" school in their village. Their innocent optimism quickly sours when the children are met with low expectations and further isolation.
Shot over four years, the filmmakers' tender portrait of rural village life and its rhythms fosters an intimacy in the children's profound reality and admiration for their indomitable spirit, punctuated by shocking instances of prejudice and ignorance. Their story touches on issues ranging from institutionalized racism, public education, and the intractability of poverty, culminating in an outrageous finale that cements the Roma children's struggle in the annals of egregious human rights violations. OUR SCHOOL is an absorbing, infuriating, and ultimately bittersweet story of tradition and progress.
Producer and Director Mona Nicoara has been a human rights activist since the 1989 Revolution that overthrew the Ceausescu regime in her native Romania; she started working in film as an Associate Producer for Edet Belzberg's Academy Award-nominated CHILDREN UNDERGROUND (2001).
Co-Director and Co-Producer Miruna Coca-Cozma is a graduate of the BBC School of Journalism and of the Romanian Theater and Film Academy; she has worked as a journalist for Antena 1, TVR, TSR, and France 5; her most recent project is OMAR PORRAS: SORCIER DE LA SCENE (2008) for TSR.
Executive Producer Julie Goldman has produced, among others, Sundance-winner SERGIO, which was nominated for an Emmy and shortlisted for the 2010 Documentary Feature Academy Award, as well as Sundance-winners BUCK (2011) and AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY (2012). She was also a consultant on the Academy Award-winning THE COVE (2009).
Director of Photography Ovidiu Marginean's credits include the documentary THE GREAT COMMUNIST BANK ROBBERY (2004), as well as feature films by late director Cristian Nemescu (CALIFORINA DREAMING) and high-budget productions such as Joel Schumacher!s BLOOD CREEK (2009).
Editor Erin Casper's experience includes I BRING WHAT I LOVE, which premiered at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival and DETROPIA, which received the Editing Award at Sundance 2012. She has been a Sundance Lab Fellow and an IFP Lab Fellow and is currently the inaugural Karen Schmeer Editing Fellow.
Supervising Editor Jonathan Oppenheim worked on acclaimed documentaries such as Academy Award-nominated STREETWISE (1984), Sundance and Teddy-winner PARIS IS BURNING (1990), Peabody-winner ARGUING THE WORLD (1998), Academy Award-nominated CHILDREN UNDERGROUND (2001), Emmy-nominated SISTER HELEN (2002), and, most recently, Sundance and Gotham Award- winner THE OATH (2010).
Consulting Editor Carol Dysinger has been a feature film and documentary editor for the past 25 years and has recently directed CAMP VICTORY, AFGHANISTAN (2010). Her credits include several Emmy-nominated documentaries and screenplays for 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Disney and HBO. She teaches film and television at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Composer Sasha Gordon has scored over 40 films, including the 2007 Sundance Grand Jury-winner SANGRE DE MI SANGRE and the 2011 Academy Award-winning short GOD OF LOVE.
Ukrainian-born Roma artist Eugene Hutz is the founder of Gogol Bordello, which pioneered “Gypsy punk” in downtown New York before reaching global cult proportions. A strong and articulate voice for Roma rights, he contributed to OUR SCHOOL the call-to-action song BREAK THE SPELL from Gogol Bordello's most politically-engaged album to date, TRANS-CONTINENTAL HUSTLE (2010, American Recordings). Eugene Hutz's involvement in film includes, among others, the brilliantly-played role of Alex in Liev Schrieber's EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED (2005).