It’s not our opinion, it’s that of the Sundance Institute and the Sarajevo Film Festival: the documentary Totonel, a Strada Film project initiated by Policy Center for Roma and Minorities (PCRM) under the framework of the REACT – Make Europe an Equal Place for Roma project, deserves a place on your must-see list. The film will be released in a few months, but has already been presented at two international festivals: at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) in November 2011 and at the Sarajevo Film Festival, which took place earlier this month.
[singlepic id=92 w=320 h=240 float=right]Now in post-production, Totonel—the story of one of the children from the Alternative Education Club—was well received by the audiences at the two festivals. Director Alexandru Nanau—winner of a 2010 Emmy-award for the film The World According to Ion B.—earned more than the admiration of festival goers. In Amsterdam, director Nanau and producer Bianca Oana presented the film during the IDFA Forum, which included 59 other projects from around the world. As a result, the project received a development grant from the Sundance Institute, which was announced on July 10. Nanau also received recognition in Sarajevo, where the Totonel project received a special mention in the Work in Progress category and an award in the Docu Rough Cut Boutique category, which entitles the film to be screened at the CineLine Work in Progress event, which is attended by personalities from the film industry and representatives of various distribution channels.
PCRM launched the documentary idea and offered financial support for the film production under the framework of the REACT – Make Europe an Equal Place for Roma, which was financed by the European Commission and implemented by three members of the ERGO Network for European Roma (including PCRM) in four countries. PCRM also allocated funds from the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission and from the Open Society Institute in Budapest for the production of the film. This will be a powerful testimony about childhood in the most famous ghetto in Romania, (un)equal opportunities and “what happens when we discover that we can get more from life than our parents have to offer” (the film tagline).