Friday, April 27, 2012, 7:00–8:50pm | Bechetel International Center, Stanford University
Directors: Mona Nicoara, Miruna Coca-Cozma
Producers: Mona Nicoara, Miruna Coca-Cozma, Julie Goldman
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.
Mona Nicoara has been a human rights activist since the 1989 Revolution that overthrew Ceausescu regime in her native Romania. She started working film as an associate producer for Edet Belzberg’s Academy Award-nominated Children Underground.
Miruna Coca-Cozma is a graduate of the BBC School of Journalism and of the Romanian Theatre and Film Academy. She has worked as a journalist for Antena 1, TVR, TSR and France 5. Her most recent project is Omar Porrs: Sorcier De La Scene for TSR.
Julie Goldman has produced, among others, Sundance winner Sergio, which was nominated for an Emmy and short-listed for the 2010 Documentary Feature Academy Award, and Sundance winner Buck. She was a consultant for the Academy Award-winning film The Cove.