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In recent months, anti-Roma rhetoric has once again dominated headlines throughout Europe. The ancient prejudices against the "Gypsies" - that they are illegal immigrants with tendencies toward crime, and who refuse to integrate - have preoccupied politicians and social activists alike.
Now more than ever is the perfect time for director Aaron Yeger's award-winning documentary, A People Uncounted: The Untold Story of the Roma, a sobering and emotionally charged portrait of the culture and history of the Roma people, to have its US premiere.
A People Uncounted will open in New York City on May 16, 2014.
With special emphasis on the genocide of the Roma during the Holocaust, A People Uncounted tells the little known story of the Roma, commonly referred to as Gypsies, who have long been both romanticized and vilified in popular culture, politics and the arts - from Cher and Shakira to Bizet's Carmen. But the Roma persevere, even as they have been singled out for intolerance and persecution throughout Europe, most notably the Holocaust genocide where an estimated 500,000 were murdered. Seen as outsiders, the Roma continue to struggle with chronic poverty and disenfranchisement.
Documenting their culturally rich yet often difficult lives, and demonstrating how their present state has been deeply shaped by the tragedies of the past, A People Uncounted brings the Romani history to life through the rich interplay of their poetry, music and compelling first-hand accounts. As ethnic intolerance flares up across Europe, A People Uncounted sheds light on this unique culture while presenting the Roma tale as emblematic of the world's legacy of racism and genocide. A People Uncounted was filmed in 11 countries and features dozens of Romani - including Holocaust survivors, historians, activists and musicians.
A People Uncounted has played at over 30 festivals around the world spanning from Montreal and Santa Barbara to Mumbai and Shanghai, and has been honored with multiple awards including Best Film at the Belgium Human Rights festival: Festival des Libertés, and at the International Romani Film Festival in Hungary. Director Aaron Yeger and producer Marc Swenker were both nominated for the Outstanding Documentary Producers of The Year Award in 2013 by the Producers Guild of America, and DOP Stephen Whitehead won the 2012 CSC Award for Best Documentary Cinematography.