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'It made me brave': New film by Roma teens challenges racist stereotypes in Govanhill

'It made me brave': New film by Roma teens challenges racist stereotypes in Govanhill
'It made me brave': New film by Roma teens challenges racist stereotypes in Govanhill

ROMA teenagers hope to challenge racist stereotypes about their communities with a new movie shot in Glasgow.

The new short, which will be shown on Friday night, was produced in Govanhill and is the first film made by Roma people in Scotland.

During the story, set at a party in the Southside community, neighbours learn some valuable lessons from one another.

Dubbed April 17th, the film premiers at the annual Govanhill International Festival and Carnival 2022.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

Ashli Mullen, Creative Director of Romano Lav, said: "This short fiction film – created by our collective of young Romani filmmakers aged just 14 and 15 in collaboration with professional artists – is partly based on real events, drawing on the girls’ lived experiences of growing up and living in Scotland’s most diverse neighbourhood.

"It playfully harnesses local tropes and stereotypes to show the mishaps that can arise when mutual understanding between neighbours is in short supply.

READ MORE: Young Roma in Govanhill slam comedian Jimmy Carr

"But ultimately, it shows how solidarity can and must prevail, even against the odds.

"As hilarious as it is important, April 17th and its message serve as an unflinching ode to contemporary Govanhill in all of its delightful contradictions."

Commissioned as part of the Govanhill Baths’ Culture Collective community artists-in-residency programme, it is the product of intensive collaboration between five young Roma women from Romano Lav and two local filmmakers, Meray Diner and Ciarán Pasi.

Monika Ginova, Paulina Gombarova, Adela Zbila, Patricie Zbila and Serena Gombarova were the five behind the film.

Adela said: "Working with close family/friends was fun, it made me feel very comfortable working with people I knew and working in an area where Roma people are very known for.

"Skills I learned from filmmaking is you have to be very patient on the working skills of a camera, also I had learned making one shot isn’t enough.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

"I found the most fun about filmmaking is turning a small idea into a big idea when planning your film, I also had fun using the camera and working with close people.

"I would like to make a film in the future - it’s lots of fun but takes time to film."

Patricie said she initially didn't want to take part - but being behind the camera helped change her mind.

She added: "When I first started making the film I felt like I didn’t want to do it, but over time I got comfortable and brave.

"The best skills that I have gained are how to use a camera and get the shots.

"The most fun thing was definitely filming it.

"I would like to do more films in the future and hope to have more fun memories."

Ciarán and Meray taught and mentored the girls in a series of screenwriting, film shooting, and editing workshops, enabling them to write, direct, shoot, edit, and produce their first film.

Meray said: "From the moment we met these talented young people, we knew they had a strong voice and we just needed to facilitate them to find a fun and creative way to express that.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

"We wanted to make sure they enjoy the process and take ownership of their film so they came up with the story and followed that through till the end.

"We’re so happy that they want to do and learn more, it’s amazing to equip young people with the strong tool of filmmaking."

The film will premiere at Romano Lav’s evening of Roma short films programmed in collaboration with GAMIS (Glasgow Artists Moving Image Studio) as part of the Govanhill International Festival and Carnival 2022.

READ MORE: Rumours about Govanhill abuse cover ups are never far away

The event takes place on Friday, August 12 from 6pm to 8pm at the recently established New Phoenix Cinema, the former furniture store, on Niddrie Road.

Toni Bruce, Project Coordinator at Romano Lav said: "From the very start, the group wanted to make a film that challenged racist stereotypes that they themselves were all too familiar with, and to show people what Govanhill is actually all about - family, friendship, and solidarity.

"They achieved this, with a film that tackles a serious subject with moments of joy and hilarity.

"As the film clearly shows, the group have important things to say - about themselves and their communities - and to learn how to tell their stories through the medium of film is so powerful.

"It has been incredible to watch this group of young women grow through the filmmaking process, and with some of them expressing a fierce interest in continuing to make films, and even perhaps a career in film - has been nothing short of joyous.

"The creation of April 17th is yet another example of how capable, innovative and creative the Roma youth of Govanhill are."

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

Tickets are available on a sliding scale from £0 to £12 and can be booked at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/romano-lav-selected-shorts-for-gifc-tickets-387393031987