Documentary about a Roma settlement near Tver’ won “Best documentary” prize at 2017 Golden Wheel film festival

The documentary film “Various talk” directed by Tatyana Chistova, which had been produced in cooperation with ADC “Memorial”, won the “Best documentary” prize at the 2017 “Golden Wheel” film festival about Romani people, which is held in Macedonia.

The film tells the story of the Roma village of Kalderash on the outskirts of Tver’. It shows the daily work of women, the half-forgotten crafts practiced by men, the holidays and everyday life of a large “tabor”, compact settlement of Roma people. One of the heroes is Oleg (Mursha) Petrovich, the author of the remarkable book “The Barons of Saporroni Tabor” (2007), published by ADC “Memorial”.

The film reflects on the problem of Roma people’s isolation in compact settlements and the segregation of Roma children. The “various talk” in the film include those of a teacher and a few pupils (only boys) of a “Roma school”, which is located on the territory of the settlement. The schooling of Roma children separately from other children is not uncommon in Russia, it violates the rights of children to quality education, which in turn prevents them from moving on to secondary school, let alone going to colleges or universities. The film shows the pupils of the school in the Roma settlement talking about how they see their future: hard metal work, early marriage, large families with many children, traditional life of a patriarchal community. The viewer gets a bitter understanding that these kids’ childhood ends very quickly…

Despite the fact that the film about the residents of the Roma settlement was made more than seven years ago, the problem of violation of the rights of children in Russian schools still persists. The recognition which the film received during the film festival will no doubt attract more attention to the unacceptable discrimination against ethnic minorities, to the necessity of providing people with equal opportunities in obtaining education, work and a decent quality of life.

Golden Wheel” film festival, which started 15 years ago, is dedicated to films about the Romani people from all over the world.

Tatyana Chistova is a Russian film director. Her other works include “Convictions” (2016), a documentary devoted to the problems of alternative civil service, which has won several prizes at various world film festivals.