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Gypsy documentaries - Film When the Road Bends, Tales of a Gypsy Caravan - World Music Documentary Film
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07/10/2007

This letter made me cry...

Dear Ms. Dellal,

I would like to thank you for making this film. I am Romany, born in the US to Slovak parents.  It was wonderful how the Macedonian woman (Esma, I think) spoke about her father’s experience during WW2 and her benefit concert for the Roma from Kosovo.  Some politics without making a political film out of it – great job!  I don’t agree with the critical remarks I have read about how not enough attention was paid to the plight of the Roma – why does every film made have to hit everyone over the head with our problems? – please make more films.

I grew up in the US and understand the importance of having positive role models in education, literature and film. My experience with this concept has primarily come from the perspective of African Americans in US society.  Roma are facing the same issues in Europe that African Americans did 40-60 years ago in the US.  Despite the fact that I am fully aware of this, I couldn’t help letting buckets of tears from rolling down my face as I was watching this.  Real people, positive role models, acknowledgment and treatment on a fair and equal level (no condescension, no romanticism and no overbearing political overtones) of the individual subjects of this film --- I have never seen that done anywhere in public on such a scale before seeing this film.  Thank you for treating my people like normal people and showing them as human individuals.  When this film comes out on DVD I will buy a copy for my mother to see it.  She needs to see in her old age that finally someone in this world is treating us fairly and acknowledging our value as human beings and contributors to society.

When I lived in Prague in the 90’s, I met a Romany man who didn’t think I was Romany – because I was a foreigner with a bit of an accent when speaking Czech and I had a university degree.  When I told him I was a Roma and my mother comes form the same country, he remarked sincerely,” Then it can’t be true. We aren’t genetically inferior and incapable of intelligence.”  My jaw dropped and I wanted to cry that someone could live for 40 years under such imposed restrictions, without realizing they were only a result of the messages to which he was constantly exposed in Czech society.  Your film needs to be subtitled into Czech, Slovak and other languages, especially for those Roma who don’t speak Romany and may think as this man did.  My people need to see your film. They need to see the greatest restriction is the one they accept by not realizing their potential.  There is a world out there beyond their ghettos (shtetls, osady) that values their heritage.

I wish I could financially afford quit my job and make films with you.  There is no greater value on earth for me than to do what you are doing. I didn’t expect it, but the tears are rolling down my face again as I think about what you have done and how happy it has made me.
Thank you.

Bill Bila
(Richmond, VA)

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