UNDP launches first virtual reality film about and with the Roma community

May 30, 2018

Istanbul, 30 May 2018 - UNDP has launched I am Fatmira, a virtual reality film on the Roma community to challenge the stereotypes normally held about Roma, which remains one of the most excluded and stigmatized communities in Europe.

In the seven-minute film shot in Füshe-Krüja, Albania, Roma activist Fatmira Dajlani takes the viewer into the Roma community through her eyes. Fatmira married young at 14, dropped out of school and had two children before the age of 18. In many ways, Fatmira’s life story reflects common issues that Roma face, like lack of education, lack of employment, discrimination, early marriage and migration.

Fatmira also defies stereotypes. She left her marriage so she could have the freedom to be an activist, went back to finish school, and started an advocacy organization, Jemi dhe ne (We are Here Too) for her community.

“Fatmira’s story reflects the diversity of the larger Roma community, and the power of the individual to improve it,” says producer Karen Cirillo.

The film premiered on 9 April at the European Parliament in Brussels during the EU Roma Week, coinciding with the presentation of the first statistics on the Roma community in the Western Balkans in seven years.

More marginalized Roma girls and boys are attending compulsory education in the Western Balkans than ever before. However, when compared to their non-Roma neighbours, Roma people face twice as high unemployment, and are less likely to see a doctor when needed or go to bed on a full stomach.

In May, UNDP took the film and 360 equipment to Roma communities across the Albania, including Füshe-Krüja where it was filmed, to share the film with them before releasing globally.

“The Roma communities that we showed the film to responded strongly to the film,” says Cirillo. “They saw Fatmira as an inspiring role model and were very proud of the work that she was doing in the community.”

The virtual reality film, produced with the support of UNDP and the European Union, was directed by Dan Hodgson and Simon Nazer and produced by Karen Cirillo for UNDP Europe and CIS. 

The film can be watched here and on UNDP Eurasia’s Facebook channel.

Contact :

Karen Cirillo, Digital Communications Consultant, UNDP Europe and CIS, karen.cirillo@undp.org