What is cliche and what is reality when it comes to the Romani people? Can films about Romani people do without stereotypes? The film series SO DIKHEA? WHAT DO YOU SEE? deals with the consequences of the images and narratives which have been created about, and not with Romani people over centuries. For a thousand years the Romani people have been part of Europe and have shaped its cultures and societies; and yet, they are still perceived as foreign and not belonging. Antiziganism makes us blind to the multi-faceted, complex reality: the reasons for the emigration of the Romani people from the Balkan countries are often disregarded, the importance of labour migration for an aging society is being ignored. In order to change this, the film series SO DIKHEA? WHAT DO YOU SEE? invites for a closer look and discussion.
RomaTrial e.V. is a transcultural self-organised Berliner-Romani group which coordinates the Roma-Filmfestival AKE DIKHEA? once a year, with the goal of bringing the complex problems of Antiziganism into the public consciousness. AKE DIKHEA? – in Romani, NA SIEHST DU? – shows films with and by Rom*nja, Sinti*zzi and other people with Romno background. The festival will take place in Berlin for the third time, between the 5th – 9th December 2019.
Hamze Bytyçi lives and works in Berlin. In 2012, he founded the association RomaTrial, in 2013 he was founding member of the International Romani Film Commission. In 2017, he has initiated the Festival of Romani Film AKE DIKHEA?, which he directs since then. In 2018, he was co-curator of the 1st Roma Biennale COME OUT NOW!
The film series SO DIKHEA? WHAT DO YOU SEE? begins with a short film-journey across Europe: The feature film Mulo (Linda McDonald Cairns, UK 2018, 27 min.) shows the struggle for survival of Romani from Romania and Bulgaria, who live under the London highways. In the documentary Searching for the Travelling People (Rich Matthews, UK 2017, 33 min.), the author Damian James Le Bas, who created the first BBC radio programme about the Romani people in 1964, visits British Romani and travellers. Jožka (Hamze Bytyçi, CZ/DE 2016, 26 min.) is a film portrait of Romani activist Jozef Miker who fights for the remembrance of Romani Holocaust victims in the Czech Republic.
Jozef Miker was born in the Eastern Slovakian town of Sobrance in 1965. He worked for over 30 years in the mining industry, until he was forced to quit due to health problems. He has been an activist against racism and right wing extremism for more than twenty years. He fought against the closure of a pig farm, which stood on the site of the former Roma concentration camp Lety.
The so called “person obliged to leave the country” should leave the Federal Republic of Germany “AS VOLUNTARILY AS POSSIBLE”. But behind these bureaucratic terms often hide dramatic personal fates, which have nothing to do with voluntariness. Like the story of Zijush, who was 13 years old when he had to leave Germany. Grown up in Bremerhaven, he has to “return” with his parents and sister to the Macedonian capital Skopje. But instead of new perspectives, he encounters hatred and exclusion: Zijush is attacked because he is Rom.
The documentary follows Zijush to Skopje, accompanied by his school teacher. It reveals the absurdity of deportation in the case of children whose homeland is Germany.
Allegra Schneider (tbc), freelance photojournalist, member of the Bremen Refugee Council
MARGINA is an intimate insight into the life of Menan’s family, who live at the edge of the European society in Macedonia. This documentary creates a poignant connection between an individual story and those global structures of injustice, exploitation and racism which force many people to flee their homes. Without the use of overt pathos, the film shows an everyday family life marked by social marginalization, racistic discrimination and economic hardship. Like many Roma of the region, the family is forced to make a living by cutting firewood for the non-Roma neighborhood. In search for a better life, the family decides to try to make their way to Germany, in order to seek asylum and spend the winter there.
Ljupcho Temelkovski was born in 1979 in Macedonia. He has an education in photography, video art, narrative film and generative art. He received a scholarship from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation for the social engagement shown through his projects. Since 2016 he has also been working as a social worker, helping Roma Families from the south-eastern Europe.
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on the 27th of January, we show the documentary A PEOPLE UNCOUNTED. Filmed in 11 countries and featuring dozens of Roma – including Holocaust survivors, historians, activists, and musicians – A PEOPLE UNCOUNTED brings the Romani history to life through the rich interplay of poetry, music, and compelling firsthand accounts. As ethnic intolerance flares up across Europe, this documentary presents the story of the Roma as emblematic of the world’s legacy of racism and genocide.
William Bila is one of the film's protagonists. He has served as the Vice President for the Roma Community Centre in Toronto, on the boards of Roma Education Support Trust (UK), Roma Education Fund (CH, SK, RO), and as president of La Voix des Rroms (F). Bila was born and raised in the United States in a Slovak-Roma family. He speaks Slovak, French, Spanish, German, Czech and native English.