Queen’s Park in Glasgow set to host UK’s first Roma Film Festival

An Episode of the Life of an Iron Picker features on Sunday, August 4, at the festival.
An Episode of the Life of an Iron Picker features on Sunday, August 4, at the festival.

The UK’s first Roma film festival will take place over the weekend of August 3-4 in Queen’s Park Arena in Queen’s Park, Glasgow.

Southside Film Festival has worked with Govanhill-based Roma charity Romano Lav’s youth group to select a programme of award-winning films from around the world, along with UK premieres.

Carmen & Lola tells the story of two young Roma women who fall in love, incurring the wrath of their communities.

Carmen & Lola tells the story of two young Roma women who fall in love, incurring the wrath of their communities.

At the launch event on Saturday, August 3, Romano Lav and Southside Film will discuss the significance of a Roma film festival and the role of cinema in promoting Roma culture, and will screen a short film made by the Romano Lav youth group to launch CineRoma.

This will be followed by the feature film Korkoro, a cinematic tribute to the Roma killed in the Holocaust and an ode to life lived freely.

There are a further four screenings on Sunday, August 4, including Our School, a touching story shot over four years following a group of Roma children involved in a school desegregation project and the moving documentary; and Taikon, about one of the most important and inspiring advocates of human rights in 20th century Europe, a Roma woman called Katarina Taikon.

This will be followed by An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, a deeply moving portrayal of family and love under crushing institutional racism, which won the Gran Jury Prix at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2013.

The films Korkoro (left) and Taikon feature in the UK's first Roma film festival.

The films Korkoro (left) and Taikon feature in the UK's first Roma film festival.

The festival closes with Carmen & Lola, a 2018 Spanish drama about two young Roma women who fall in love, incurring the wrath of their communities and turning their families against them.

All screenings take place in Queen’s Park Arena, are un-ticketed, and entry is by donation.

The festival follows on from the successful collaboration between Southside Film and Romano Lav during this year’s Southside Film Festival with a screening of the award-winning Black Cat, White Cat followed by music from Gypsy Lexus and traditional Roma food.

Aileas Pringle, Southside Film’s CineRoma festival coordinator, said: “It is exciting to see such an important part of the Govanhill community acknowledged and represented on screen.

Our School is the touching story of a group of Roma children.

Our School is the touching story of a group of Roma children.

“Working on CineRoma has been a very enriching experience for us all, as we’ve discovered so many fantastic stories through selecting films for the programme.

“CineRoma is a great opportunity for the people of Govanhill, the wider Southside and whole city Glasgow to share these stories and to learn something new about the Roma community.”

Ashli Mullen, Project Coordinator for Romano Lav, added: “We are thrilled to work with Southside Film to present CineRoma.

“We strongly believe that cinema has a crucial role to play in challenging stereotypes and promoting Roma culture.

“Through the process of creating this film festival, our young people have been exposed not only to new genres, mediums, and ways of seeing, but have been empowered to take control of their own representation, through a series of film-making workshops and the production of a documentary, as well as their innovative ‘living trailers’ for each film.

“Further, as we observed at our joint screening of ‘Black Cat, White Cat’ at the main Southside Film Festival in June, these events have the capacity not only to entertain and inspire, but to create space for the deepening of solidarities amongst our diverse local communities and the forging of new ones along the way. We look forward to further collaborations.”

CineRoma is supported by Regional Screen Scotland’s Challenge Fund and is part of the Govanhill International Festival and Carnival 2019.

CineRoma Programme at a Glance:

Saturday, August 3

4-6.30pm: Launch event & Korkoro (Not Certified – age 12 advised, 111 mins, 2009).

7-9pm: Transylvanian Ceilidh, an outdoor ceilidh – Roma style! – to celebrate the launch of CineRoma, featuring traditional Roma music and dancers from Hungary. This will take place outdoors at the Queens Park Arena.

Sunday, August 4

11.30am-1.30pm: Our School (Not Certified – PG advised, 94 mins, 2011).

2.15-3.50pm: Taikon (Not Certified – U advised, 90 mins, 2015).

4.30-5.45pm: An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (Cert 12, 72 mins, 2013).

6.30-8.40pm: Carmen and Lola (Not Certified – 12 advised, 103 mins, 2018)

The full CineRoma Programme information is available on the Southside Film Festival website