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.
Grand Jury Prize for Best US Feature, SILVERDOCS 2011
Graine de Cinéphage Award, FILMS DE FEMMES 2012
Best International Feature, HUMAN RIGHTS ARTS AND FILM 2012
Best East European Feature nomination at SILVER EYE 2011
Best Romanian Documentary nomination at GOPO AWARDS 2012
One World Prague, Thessaloniki Dok Fest, Visions du Reel, Tribeca, SilverDocs, Transylvania International Film Festival, Guth Gafa, DokuFest, EIDF South Korea, Camden International Film Festival, Noaptea Alba a Filmului Romanesc, DokLeipzig, Astra, Verzio, United Nations Association Film Festival, Inconvenient Films, CPH:DOX, One World Slovakia, DocEst, WatchDocs, Romanian Film Festival at the Lincoln Center Film Society, This Human World, Documentarist: Which Human Rights?, Trieste Film Festival, Journees du Soleure, Etoiles Francophones, One World Romania, Movies That Matter, Cape Winelands Film Festival South Africa, Sebastopol Documentary Festival, Latcho Divano, Festival de Film de Femmes, Diversite, Human Rights Arts and Film Festival Australia, International Romani Art Festival
Producer and Director Mona Nicoara was born in Communist Romania; after the 1989 Revolution she began creative work with human rights activism, and continued these parallel tracks after moving to New York to pursue graduate studies at Columbia University in 1995. She started working in film in 1997 as an Associate Producer for Children Underground, a US feature-length documentary about street children which received the Special Jury Prize at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, went on to win the Gotham Documentary Achievement Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary.
Co-Director and Co-Producer Miruna Coca-Cozma is a graduate of the BBC School of Journalism and of the Romanian Theater and Film Academy; she has worked as a journalist for Antena 1, TVR, TSR, and France 5; her most recent project is Omar Porras: Sorcier de la Scene (2008) for TSR.
Executive Producer Julie Goldman has produced, among other films, Sundance-winner Sergio, which was nominated for an Emmy and shortlisted for the 2010 Documentary Feature Academy Award, 2011 Academy Award shortlist selection Buck and 2011 triple-Emmy nomination Better This World, Sundance 2012 Special Jury Prize winner Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, and 2013 Sundance selections God Loves Uganda, Manhunt and Gideon's Army.
Director of Photography Ovidiu Marginean's credits include the documentary The Great Communist Bank Robbery (2004), as well as feature films by late director Cristian Nemescu (California Dreaming) and high-budget productions such as Joel Schumacher's Blood Creek (2009). For Eurpolis (2010), he received the Best Cinematography Award at the Cyprus International Film Festival.
Editor Erin Casper's experience includes I Bring What I Love, which premiered at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival. More recently, she was an Associate Editor for the Sundance 2012 Editing Award winner and 2012 Cinema Eye Honors Best Editing nominee Detropia and an editor for the 2013 Sundance selections American Promise and Gun. For her work on Our School, Casper was nominated as a Sundance Lab Fellow, an IFP Lab Fellow, and the inaugural Karen Schmeer Editing Fellow.
Supervising Editor Jonathan Oppenheim worked on acclaimed documentaries such as Academy Award-nominated Streetwise (1984), Sundance and Teddy-winner Paris is Burning (1990), Peabody- winner Arguing the World (1998), Academy Award-nominated Children Underground (2001), Emmy-nominated Sister Helen (2002), and, most recently, Sundance and Gotham Award-winner The Oath (2010).
Consulting Editor Carol Dysinger has been a feature film and documentary editor for the past 25 years and has recently completed her first feature-length documentary as a director, Camp Victory, Afghanistan (2010). Her credits include several Emmy-nominated documentaries and screenplays for 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Disney and HBO. She teaches film and television at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Composer Sasha Gordon was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she began studying piano at the age of 5; after moving to New York in 1989, she went on to of win competitions as a concert pianist, attended Brown University, the Mannes Conservatory, and New York University's Film Directing program. She has scored over 40 films; her recent compositional work can be heard in the Sundance Grand Jury-winner Sangre de Mi Sangre (2007), as well as the 2011 Academy Award-winning short God of Love.
Ukrainian-born Roma artist Eugene Hutz is the founder of Gogol Bordello, which pioneered “Gypsy punk” in downtown New York before reaching global cult proportions. A strong and articulate voice for Roma rights, he contributed to Our School the call-to-action song Break the Spell from Gogol Bordello's most politically-engaged album to date, Trans-Continental Hustle (2010, American Recordings). Eugene Hutz's involvement in film includes, among others, the brilliantly-played role of Alex in Liev Schrieber's Everything is Illuminated (2005).
Length 94 minutes
Language Romanian, with English or French subtitles
Language Romanian, with English or French subtitles
Produced by Sat Mic Film in co-production with Pipas Films in association with Motto PicturesMore credits and technical information on IMDB.com.