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(Video Interview: RealVideo)
"AMERICAN GYPSY: A Stranger In Everybody's Land" is the first feature documentary to be produced and directed by Jasmine Dellal.
Jasmine Dellal was raised in England, but also spent much of her childhood in India. She received her Bachelors degree in Modern Languages (French and Spanish language & literature) from Balliol College, Oxford University. In 1993, Dellal completed a Master's degree in Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, where she studied under the acclaimed documentarian Marlon Riggs. While at Berkeley, Dellal produced, directed and edited "In His Own Image," a profile of a homeless photographer, for which she won a student Emmy Award. She then co-produced/directed "She Says," a half-hour documentary about strong American women dissociating themselves from feminism in the nineties.
From 1993-95, Dellal was Associate Producer and Assistant Editor of Marlon Riggs' "Black Is...Black Ain't," which aired on PBS in early 1996 (and won top awards from: Sundance, Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, San Francisco International Film Festival, etc.) She then worked with Marco Williams as the Assistant National Broadcast Director of "-ISM (N.)," an educational project about diversity on campuses.
Jasmine Dellal has now moved from San Francisco to New York, where she makes films and runs her company Little Dust Productions.
Michele Zaccheo shot, co-directed and edited "River People," a PBS documentary that won numerous awards, including: The David Wolper International Documentary Association Award (1991) and Best Video Award at the American Indian Film Festival. American Cinematographer also highly praised the photography of this documentary. In 1992, Zaccheo shot "Sin City Diary," a documentary about prostitutes around a US Navy base in the Philippines, and his latest work, "Vidioms," showed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Mr. Zaccheo's freelance photography includes: PBS' European Journal, KCET Los Angeles and the Learning Channel. Zaccheo also taught video workshops to documentary students at U.C. Berkeley and San Francisco's Film Arts Foundation. He currently works for the United Nations media department, where he recently produced a documentary on the history of human rights.
Over the past twenty years of editing, Joseph De Francesco has worked on documentaries, fiction films, commercials, rock videos and visual poems. His work has been nominated for three Academy Awards and received many other accolades. Some of his more noticed work includes: KQED's "Chinatown" and "The Fillmore" about the famous San Francisco neighborhoods; "The American Promise," a series on democracy; "Freedom On My Mind" (co-editor) Academy Nominee about Mississippi's voting rights struggle. But, above all, his passion is story-telling.
"American Gypsy" is dedicated to the memory of Marlon Riggs, who sadly passed away in 1994. Marlon Riggs was a key consultant from the time of this project's germination until it was well into production. His input was crucial to the film's narrative approach and the issue of an outsider claiming authority to speak about a minority culture. An Emmy and Peabody award winning director, Mr. Riggs established a reputation for cultural works that are both personal and analytical. His internationally acclaimed films include: "Ethnic Notions," "Tongues Untied," "Color Adjustment," and "Black Is...Black Ain't." Mr. Riggs was also a tenured professor at the University of California at Berkeley, where he influenced and inspired many of his students. He was admired for his courage, commitment to speaking out, artistic adventurousness and a great sense of humour. Thank you.
Creative Advisors include:
As the owner of Festival Records in Los Angeles, John Filcich has more than 40 years of experience specializing in Romani music from around the world and has made many unique recordings of Romani American artists. Filcich also lectures on Romani music, dance and tradition to academic groups and anthropology students. Although he is not a Rom, John Filcich is continually recognized and welcomed into Romani homes because of his experience.
Dr. Ian Hancock:
Documentary Subject / Romani Consultant
Ian Hancock is one of the world's foremost experts on Romani culture. A Gypsy himself, Hancock is a Representative at the United Nations for UNICEF and for the World Romani Union, and Romani member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He has collected what is probably the largest Romani archive in North America, and has published hundreds of articles on his culture. His historical book, "The Pariah Syndrome", includes extensive examination of American Gypsies. Mr. Hancock is also a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Texas, Austin, internationally respected for his scholarly work on Creole languages.
The Honorable William A. Duna was the first Romani presidential appointee to the US Holocaust Memorial Council. He currently teaches both Musicology and Romani History at St. Thomas University, Minnesota, and he writes widely published articles about Music and Roma in the Holocaust. Mr. Duna, a Gypsy himself, is an active spokesperson for the Romani community, a member of various Romani organizations and a founder of the non-profit group SA-ROMA, promoting Romani arts and education to limit prejudice against Roma around the world. Aside from his academic career, Duna is a professional jazz pianist and the single parent of four sons. He has recently established a website to function alongside his university course on Romani music: http://www.lc.stthomas.edu/roma/.
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