We are in Hungary right now -- and we only have 3 days left to get our final funding!!!!!!!!
We are now traveling round the country showing my film GYPSY CARAVAN to Romani (Gypsy) communities and to other people who are traditionally racist about "Gypsies". We need the final funding to keep this program going for the next 6 weeks. Check out the "updates" tab above to see more about our adventures...
This is the kind of thing that really makes a difference.
Yesterday we visited the village where an innocent couple were shot in their home by passing young men who thought it would be fun to kill a couple of Gypsies.
Everyone agrees -- we can't change things instantly, but talking and a film can help, because it gets people thinking. Strangely simple, but true!
MORE INFO BELOW (from the original post for this project).
Jasmine, Ella and our growing team of volunteers... Zsafia, John, Zsolt...
We’re off to Hungary this summer to show a film and make a film. And we’re asking for your help...
Our aim is to use film to challenge "Gypsy" stereotypes – stereotypes so dangerous that there are frequent attacks on Roma (“Gypsies”) purely due to their race. In the past two years, 8 Roma have been lynched in Hungary. Whole villages have been mobbed. Police don’t even pursue crimes against Gypsies. Employers openly reject Gypsy job applicants. Kids are kept out of school (this is banned by European courts but everyone knows it continues). Adults are barred from shops & nightclubs. Racism is rampant and accepted.
People say openly that Gypsies are the "Niggers of Europe" (I quote!). In the 21st century, this is totally unacceptable.
Slowly, some charities are trying to change things (and one of the world’s richest men, George Soros, supports many such pro-Roma efforts). But it won’t be easy, so I think we’ve all got to pitch in. And one of the best modern weapons against prejudice is film.
Phew – something we can do!
This summer we’ll travel around Hungary showing my film Gypsy Caravan in schools, villages, prisons, universities, churches, and other places where we can get people talking and challenge silly stereotypes. We’ll also be making a video and recording oral histories of the people we meet.
We had success with a similar project in Romania last year. Little Dust Productions got a small grant to travel for 6 weeks with fantastic outreach director Ella Veres. We joined with local groups to hold film screenings, community talks and lively debates – here’s video of our tour's modest beginning: http://www.vimeo.com/13967112
Now we’re targeting Hungary because it's rife with Roma discrimination (http://tinyurl.com/2cmqjlu) and there is a newly elected extreme right political party who ran on an anti-Roma platform.
IT ALL STARTED WITH A FILM...
My 2007 documentary Gypsy Caravan ("When the Road Bends...") follows 5 Romani bands from 4 countries on a USA concert tour, and then visits the musicians’ families in Romania, Macedonia, India and Spain. Critics called it the "Buena Vista Social Club of Gypsy music", and it showed in festivals and cinemas worldwide.
When it screened in Bulgaria, the U.S. ambassador told us that they spend thousands of dollars on Romani minority education projects, “when all we should really do is show this film – it makes non-Roma see ‘Gypsies’ as humans and forces us to face our own prejudice”.
In Transylvania, a Romani woman pushed me to use Gypsy Caravan for grassroots change. After a screening, she stood up and spoke so passionately to 800 people in the audience that many seemed close to tears. She insisted that we must translate the film and show it locally. We must help her people be seen for who they really are. And help them to feel proud and fight for justice.
Gypsy Caravan is not a classic educational film, but I'm happy that it has proven a great tool for starting conversations and inspiring people. Lots of kids write to us after school screenings. 8-year-old Amina from Craiova said: "It was wonderful. Let's tell them we are people too!"
And her classmate added: "Now I want to be the best Gypsy ever!"
Yes, we're asking for your donations... (& offering rewards - listed on the right)
Initial costs for this trip are funded by an Open Society Institute grant.
Kickstarter donations will help pay for:
• Hungarian DVDs to show & donate locally
• Accommodation in Hungary (we’re talking basic hostels, etc)
• Creating a video of the tour
• Video, photos and oral histories in local settlements
• Translating educational materials to go with the film (these made a BIG difference in Romania)
• Creating web tools so that participants can stay in touch and keep motivating each other to do screenings and even make their own videos
• Training local volunteers to lead more screenings and discussions
"Intoxicating… Compelling… Transcends the music documentary genre... The film records a vibrant diaspora that exists despite centuries of persecution. The one thing all the members of the tour appear to want to convey is the absurdity of the stereotypes that precede them.” - LA Times
If you want to know more about ways to join in and help, then
PLEASE contact us.
& a boatload of other fantastic volunteers
and collaborators who make all of this possible
p.s. Thinking positive -- if we raise over our budget, then extra funds will help extend this campaign into other regions (unfortunately, Roma don't have a great deal in most of Europe, so we'll have to tackle it one country at a time).
more on film: www.gypsycaravanmovie.com
more on Romani culture: http://reocities.com/Paris/5121/
more on us: www.littledust.com
more on other film: www.americangypsy.com
soundtrack label: http://www.worldvillagemusic.com/anglais/album.php...
- (57 days)