Between March 31 – May 1 Our School, directed by Mona Nicoară and Miruna Coca-Cozma, continues its festival and series screenings run in the US, including Sebastopol, Cambridge, Stanford and Los Angeles. The documentary won of the Sterling Award for Best U.S. Feature at Silverdocs 2011. RCINY co-presented the U.S. Premiere of "Our School" at the Tribeca International Film Festival, in the World Documentary Feature Competition . The film also had a screening in the 6th Romanian Film Festival in NYC, co-presented by the Romanian Cultural Institute in NY and the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 2011.
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.