Roma children produce OneMinuteJr videos in Bulgaria
22 Roma children from Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia framed life in all its colors, shadows, suns, rains, tears, smiles, feelings and perceptions on a film tape during the workshop for OneMinuteJr videos which took place in Montana, Bulgaria, from April 3-7, 2006.
The workshop was organized for the first time in Bulgaria by UNICEF, the European Cultural Foundation and the Sandberg Institute in cooperation with the local NGOs Sham Foundation (from Montana), the Center Amalipe (from Veliko Turnovo) and the Municipality of Montana. The event was held under the patronage of Mr. Zlatko Zhivkov, Mayor of Montana. Additionally, Mr. Yavor Dimitrov, Deputy-Minister of Labor and Social Policy and Mr. Yosif Nunev from the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science paid a visit to the workshop.
The workshop in Montana was part of a series of seminars organized by UNICEF, the European Cultural Foundation and the Sandberg Institute within the OneMinuteJr project. On the question why exactly the OneMinuteJr genre was chosen for child participation and child expression purposes, Chris Schuepp from UNICEF answered: “In these days we are all in a hurry and we have so little time to hear what somebody else has to say, especially when we are talking about children. Children’s voices are not heard in the media. We, the adults, often speak about children’s problems and do not even ask them what these problems really are. Now they have the chance to say it. And why exactly one minute? Nobody has the time to sit and watch a one-hour film, but one minute of time anybody could find and listen to what these children have to say. Everybody knows the expression: Wait a minute! This is what we would like people to do: Wait a minute and take a look at what the children have to say."
Raya Ribbius from the European Cultural Foundation shared her impressions that workshops with Roma children are among the most exciting: “Roma children can show you the world in so many colors that one has never expected they exist. They can live the saddest life and at the same time be able to never to lose their ability to see the beautiful things in life.”
During the seminar, the Roma children showed they really have imagination. They showed their own world through the eye of the big statue in the center of Montana, in the different small figures you can make out of paper for a minute, they filmed in achurch, in ahospital and on a cemeter. There are no limits for the children's imagination. As well as for that of the trainers. The only thing they could not cope with was the wish of 12 year-old Svetlin from Pernik (Bulgaria) to find a bear for his film called Roma Roulette.
There were many schools in the films of the Roma children. Within one minute, they managed to show what it means to be educated and what it means especially for the Roma community. With my own eyes I saw how with their natural children sincerity the young film producers break stereotypes.
There were also a number of unanswered questions in the films of the Roma children, for example why they are chased out of the disco just because of the color of their skin. The film Minority Mathematics by Zdravka Nikolova from Vidin was asking why the world is still framed in an abacus where white and black people are always separated.
There was a lot of hope in the films of the Roma children, too. 13 year old Boryana from Dobrodan (Bulgaria) has been taking care of her family all her life. Her 15 year old sister has been ill since birth and has spent all her life going to hospitals with her mother. Almost all her life… There were breaks when the parents had to go abroad and work until they earned money for the next series of hospital stays. Meanwhile, Boryana was cooking, cleaning, taking care of her mother’s duties and going to school at the same time. When I asked her “What do you want to show in your film, what do you want most?”, she answered: “I want my sister to be cured and my mother not to be absent any more…”
Press Release written by Teodora Krumova, Center Amalipe (Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria)