“A fascinating window… confronts the prejudice and misperception that the Roma face in this country.”
|Subject Areas: Anthropology, Civil Rights, Ethnography, Social Studies, Human Rights, Law & Criminal Justice, Race, Holocaust Studies, Romani Studies, Film StudiesLength: 1 hour, 19 min|
Insert Tagline Synopsis Here
There are one million Gypsies, or Rom, in America, who most people know nothing about. Never before has a camera been allowed in to explore their world. Shot over the course of five years, this feature documentary tells the lyrical tale of one Romani family in the United States who have broken the wall of secrecy surrounding their people. AMERICAN GYPSY follows the story of Jimmy Marks, a flamboyant community leader who becomes passionately obsessed with fighting a civil rights battle to defend his family, his history and his honor. His journey carries us into the Romani culture with scenes of Gypsies from around the world celebrating New Year in Las Vegas; the arranged marriage of teenagers; and car salesmen in Stetson hats driving Cadillacs. AMERICAN GYPSY is a glimpse of an immigrant world that is either on the verge of extinction or at a critical turning point for survival. It is a world that most of us have never had the chance to visit because this is the first time it is being presented on screen.
“A sharp and sophisticated film that succeeds admirably in raising critical questions about representation and ethnographic research while elegantly unfolding an engrossing narrative. I intend to use this film in my courses on ethnographic research methods.”
– Hugh Raffles, Dept. of Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz
“Much more than the story of a Romani family’s fight for justice, this film presents an inter-generational portrait of Roma both preserving their traditions and creatively adapting to new situations in a new world. This is a must-have stimulus for discussion in anthropology or sociology courses dealing with ethnicity, cultural resistance and assimilation, and racism.”
– Ken Lee, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Univ. of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
“Raises issues of diversity and cultural pride, illustrated with fascinating interviews and historical photographs. Prejudice, discrimination, and racial profiling face Roma all over Europe, but few Americans realize that American Roma confront similar problems. This film would be excellent in anthropology, ethnic studies, American studies, and sociology courses.”
– Carol Silverman, Dept. of Anthropology, Univ. of Oregon
“I do not remember any movie or documentary that ever came close to this one in insight, clarity, pathos, or sheer empathy toward the Gypsy cause. In addition to the beauty of the background music, the history, the editing, and the sheer transparency of the images, I am struck by the film’s sensitivity to a problematic situation. This is a must-see in any class dealing with cultural differences or the role of the family.”
– Antonio T. de Nicolas, Dept. of Philosophy Emeritus, State Univ. of New York at Stony Brook
AWARDS & SCREENINGS
Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary – San Francisco International Film Fest.
Best Documentary Award – Atlanta Film & Video Fest.
Golden Maile Award nomination – Hawaii International Film Fest.
Best Documentary – Golden Wheel Roma Fest.
Special Commendation – London: Out Of That Darkness Festival
Human Rights Watch Film Festival
Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
Visual Anthropology Film & Video Festival, D.C.
Special Screenings at Ethnographic, Anthropological & Nationalism courses
Special University Screenings e.g. Columbia, NYU, Stanford, London’s SOAS
PBS, POV Series (season’s highest ratings)
Theatrical Release – NY, LA, SF, DC, Seattle, Taiwan, etc
New York Museum of Television & Radio