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Gypsies: the 1000 year Journey

Hastings Independent Cinema the Electric Palace is celebrating Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month 2023 on June 18th by screening a selection of recent films about our communities.

From the BBC's Peaky Blinders to Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame, Europe's Gypsy community has long been depicted on our screens, but what is the inside view of Europe's largest ethnic minority community? Romani journalist Jake Bowers celebrates Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month with four of his favourite films.

In June, every year since 2008, people from across the UK celebrate Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month.Jake Bowers presents a selection of short and medium length films that celebrate the music and culture of these communities, as well as raise awareness and tackle myths and prejudices.

There are around 300,000 Gypsies and Travellers living in the UK. It is important to note that Travellers are not all the same. They are individual communities. Gypsies, Roma and Travellers of Irish Heritage are identified as racial groups and are covered by the Race Relations Act as legitimate minority ethnic communities.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the community group Drive 2 Survive.

See this handpicked selection of short films:

This Land

This Land explores and celebrates the Gypsy and Traveller connection to the land. Made for the human rights advocacy group in Scotland Aye Right, it draws upon archive photographs, cinematic imagery and a poem to explore the long and well established connection between Gypsies and Travellers and the landscapes they have always travelled through and worked in. Using archive imagery from the Robert Dawson Gallery collections, Gypsy and Traveller family photograph albums, Kushti Bok, Bourne Hall Museum and independent film makers, the film is a powerful exploration of the deep connection to the land. It is read by community activists Lynne Tammi and Jake Bowers.

Hurjasa (We Will Fly), Directed by Jake Bowers

A beautiful cinematic portrait of Europe’s largest ethnic minority, Hurjasa; features over 30 Roma role models from the Western Balkan region, all thriving in their respective professions and homes.

The epic poem is narrated in Romanes and is directly inspired by the Black American poet Maya Angelou’s civil rights anthem “Still I Rise”. The film was produced in collaboration with the Regional Cooperation Council Roma Integration and the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture - ERIAC, as a part of the Proud Roma, Free Europe campaign, which aims to boost Roma pride and encourage civic participation among Roma.

The Last Nomads

Directed by Daniel Gonzales Franco and Dominic Watters. Partly filmed in Hastings, this film is about the Drive to Survive Campaign to stop the Police Bill eradicating Gypsy and Traveller nomadic life in Britain.

The production of this video was made possible with funding from Moving for Change.

The Tale of Europe's Stolen Children

European Roma Rights Centre's campaign animation for its Children in State Care Campaign.

Across many countries in Eastern Europe Romani children face huge barriers. Many are defined as "educationally subnormal" and forced into racially segregated special schools while others are forcibly taken into care because of the poverty of their parents and widespread discrimination. This modern fairytale animation looks at one child who escaped such a fate to become an advocate for her people. Featuring the voice of Romani actress Alina Serban and animated by Hastings-based animator Sarah Gomes Harris, this film was also written and directed by Jake Bowers.

Black Saint - Could You Love Me?

Black Saint's powerful music video shot within different Romani communities from Kent to Glasgow poses a difficult question about Britain's Gypsy and Traveller communities "Could you love me?" Beautiful cinematography combined with striking Romani poetry and imagery features in this music video directed by Josh Cole. Produced by Jake Bowers.

To book tickets:

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