Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our School Broadens Swiss Release

Our School poster at Bio Carouge in Geneva. Photo (c) Miruna Coca-Cozma
Following an eight-week theatrical release in Swiss Romande this spring, Our School expands its run to new cinemas, as well as to the German-speaking Swiss territories this fall. 

We have reached out to Swiss teachers' groups, human rights organizations and authorities to make the best use of the film as a springboard for a broader discussion about Roma integration and the pressing issue of overcoming prejudice in Switzerland, where Roma migrants often face backlash. 

Here is a partial list of Swiss screenings lined up for this fall:
  • Haute école pédagogique Vaud in Lausanne shows excerpts of the film on Sun, Sept 22 at 2pm at UNIL, Dorigny, as part of the Assises romandes de l'éducation, which focus this year on school integration; a full screening follows in the evening, with a discussion conducted by Miruna Coca-Cozma 
  • Our School is this year's opening film for the CinéBrunch Regards d'Ailleurs series in Fribourg on Sat, Oct 13 at 11am at Cinemotion Rex; Q&A with Director Miruna Coca-Cozma follows the screening
  • Centre de Culture ABC in La-Chaux-de-Fonds will follow a screening on Tue, Oct 23 at 5:30pm  with a round table on Roma integration with the participation of Amnesty International Switzerland, the President of the Neuchâtel State Council and the Head of the Department of Education, representatives of the Lausanne Police, and director Miruna Coca-Cozma; Our School will also screen at ABC on Sat, Oct 27 and Sun, Oct 28 at  4pm
  • Cinéma de Cossonay shows Our School on Wed, Oct 24 at 8:30pm, again with a Q&A with Director Miruna Coca-Cozma
  • The wonderful arthouse cinema Kino Kunstmuseum in Berne will show Our School on Fri, Nov 2 at 6:30pm, Sat, Nov 3 at 6pm (followed by Q&A with Director Miruna Coca-Cozma), Sun, Nov 4 at 4:30pm (also followed by Q&A with Director Miruna Coca-Cozma), as well as Wed, Nov 7 at 6:30pm
  • Cinéma Rex in Aubonne will screen Our School on Mon, Nov 12 at 8:30pm 
  • Finally, we're returning to the Carouge Cinéma Bio 72 in Geneva, where the film ran for seven consecutive weeks this spring, for an educational screening with Director Miruna Coca-Cozma on Tues, Nov 13, at 11am
If you cannot catch Miruna Coca-Cozma doing a Q&A this fall, you can take a look at her interviews in Les Quotidiennes - Miruna Coca-Cozma filme le reve entrave d'une école pour enfants Roms - or listen to the hour-long radio show featuring her on Radio RTS - Un documentaire sur les enfants roms.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Our School Supports Romanian Cinema in New York

Last year we had the honor of presenting Our School in the Romanian film festival in New York at the Walter Reade Theater, on the Romania's national day. Director Mona Nicoara, who lives in New York, had been attending the festival for many years. It is by far the most exciting and innovative Romanian cultural event in the city, with a fantastic audience, outstanding industry presence, excellent press coverage from the NYTimes to the Village Voice, and, last but not least, a great line-up of New Wave movies curated by a team of Lincoln Center Film Society and Transylvania International Film Festival programmers.

Recently, the Romanian Cultural Institute, which until last year funded the event, has fallen victim to political changes and culture wars raging back in Bucharest. You can find a good overview of the situation published by New York Times earlier this summer here. Since then, the Institute's programs for the remainder of this year have been defunded, its leadership replaced with throwbacks to Communist-era ideologues, and its mission changed to, for instance, producing a series of documentaries called "Treasures of the Carpathians." Just today, the newly appointed head of the Institute announced in an interview that he wants to shift the focus from film and the arts to promoting Romania's contributions to science and technology like the...radiator. It sounds funny, but for those of us who remember Romania before 1989, it is sadly familiar.

Luckily, the team who founded the festival is working hard to keep it going, with support from the Lincoln Center Film Society, private foundations, and Romanian artists. But they need to fill their budget gap through crowd funding. They just launched a Kickstarter campaign, which we supported by volunteering to produce the video below. 

Please donate and spread the word. Every bit, from anywhere in the world, counts, and every supporter and gesture of solidarity is an important victory for Romanian artists and filmmakers, and for the dedicated New York audience of this festival. A dollar a day keeps the radiators away.