Modern Girls And A Gypsy Family In London

By Ioanna Karavela Last edited 28 months ago
Modern Girls And A Gypsy Family In London

Inspired by International Women's Day, we've got a double bill of great short films with women in the driver's seat. Kate Herron and Victoria Fiore are very different, yet equally talented filmmakers to keep an eye on. First up is Herron with her short, snappy Valentine, a comedy that captures girls today.

Shot around Harrow, Herron co-wrote the film with her cast Camille Ucan, Rose Johnson and Beattie Edmonson (aka The Birthday Girls). She told Londonist:

"I was supposed to be writing with a friend of mine, but instead found myself trapped as the only audience member to a 10-hour one-woman play about relationship problems. It was something I had definitely done to her in the past and I wanted to explore this in a short film with one character who couldn't stop talking about her feelings and another who buried them."

The second part of our double bill is Victoria Fiore's mesmerising documentary Gadjo, about a Gypsy family living in west London which focuses on a father's effort to connect his son to his Roma roots.

Music, and especially the mastering of the violin, is a prime aspect of Gypsy culture and Fiore, a violinist herself, was interested in getting close to the Roma community to make a film about them. But filming a documentary that requires full access to your subject is not easy — it takes time to build trust. And despite her efforts to make a connection while living in Barcelona, it wasn't until Fiore returned to London that her persistence paid dividends:

"I met with many different Gypsy families then one day I met Dudek and his family. They were very welcoming but they didn't let me film them for the first six months and it took another eight months before they allowed me to release the film."

While visiting the family, drinking vodka and socialising, Fiore noticed that Dudek's son Blanko seemed distant: "He would never speak and would never join us — and preferred to be out playing football". Then came the idea to show Blanko how rich his heritage was by having the family re-enact a day in the Gypsy life as it would have been lived in the past, before modern day conveniences. The film follows the family during that day and makes it very hard not to fall in love with this often misunderstood community.

Thank you to our friends at Whirlygig Cinema who drew our attention to Victoria Fiore's work — and also the great guys at Short Sighted Cinema and Fliqio, who tipped us off about Kate Herron.

Want to be featured? If you have a London-themed short film that you’d like us to consider for this series, send an email with the subject “London Shorts” to Stu Black and Ioanna Karavela via our email: londonshorts@londonist.com

To see other London Shorts click here (but please note, links may not always work if the filmmakers are showing their shorts in competition).

Last Updated 27 October 2015

Lindsey Berthoud

Wonderful choices - two very different films but both excellent, thank you.