Project: …”slowly, without malice, humanly”…

Implemented in: Sofia

Program: Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria

Implementation period: 01.09.2021 – 31.08.2022

Project Promoter: Roma World -21st Century Foundation

Partner: No

Summary and results:

The project is aimed at improving the media image of the regular member of the Roma community. It targets a high national audience, relies on the strong compulsions conveyed through audiovisual art, on the selection of “images” and “characters” through which it brings out the main messages related to its specific goal and aims at qualitative changes in the perception of the issues both among the Roma minority and in our society.

Ten 10-minute documentary-journalistic films were made with a unified creative concept and style. 10 peculiar “Songs for Man”, which present personal stories related to problems and challenges faced by residents of Roma and mixed communities, cases of violated human and civil rights and hate speech manifestations.  Representatives of the target group are intimately present in each of the films – through the images of the main characters or participants (25 are representatives of Roma ethnicity who stand in front of our camera), the issues touched upon (from typical stereotypical beliefs to gross violation of civil rights and institutional inaction) and the message put forward to the audience (“men in the new times”, who themselves line up the notes and sing “slowly and quietly their song” and succeed, despite dogmas, negative attitudes and deadlocks).

The project relies on the power of audio-visual art and uses two powerful communication tools – television and the internet. The 10 films are successively broadcasted and repeated for one whole year on the national media – BNT. As a confirmation of the quality of the images and suggestions, as well as the dissemination and effect of their messages to the target groups (general public, Roma, civil activists) can be taken:

•  the rating achieved by the 10 films when first broadcasted within the “Small Stories” social slot – a total of 634 980 viewers.

•  one of the films, “The Kirilov Family” was featured in Small Stories’ discussion studio on “Roma – Between Myths and Change” on 14.01.2022.

•  the interest in the publications on YouTube (channels of the Bulgarian National Television and the Foundation) – a total of 55 274 users have been reached.

•  no aggressive comments have been noticed during the time the films have been distributed on the Internet, the tone of the responses is generally positive and empathetic.

A Foundation website has been developed and published, which collects the best art forms created over the years. The project “gently, without malice, in a peaceful human manner” is visualized in a separate space on the site, presenting all the products (the 10 films) translated and subtitled in English and opening the possibility of further promoting them in the future. The site’s traffic (nearly 200 unique users between April and August) was also supported by the Facebook campaign launched to promote the project’s public events and having reached 49065 web users.

At the end of the project, the team was able to “translate” the messages “from TV” and the Internet into real life through the public discussion and the film screening, which, although in a small circle of attendees, received their response in the public space through publications in the media and Internet portals.  

The quantitative result in reaching an audience in a broadcast could be predicted based on previous broadcasts (at the project proposal stage the team has set 200,000 viewers as a relevance for success). The actual figures may vary, but it is always a guarantee of the quality of the films and the relevance of the messages. In this sense, reaching an audience of more than 634,980 people is for us an indication of serious success and audibility of the messages we have addressed to the right target groups.

The launch of a Facebook campaign within the project is extremely innovative for the Foundation’s team, which is actively involved in its preparation and implementation. It has been one of the biggest challenges, yielding unexpected results and definitely expanding the capacity of the Foundation, adding knowledge and skills for future projects.

To a large extent, the project has been able to consolidate partnerships with various NGOs and civil society activists, which is customary for the team and the work process. With two of them (Karin Dom and Bulgarian Helsinki Committee) the partnership is built upon and reflected in two of the films that are being created in joint concept and brainstorming – “Little people” and “The Invisible”.

Shortcut to the films (available also in the Media lab):

Grant amount: 53 745 EUR

Contact: Kremena Budinova
phone: +359 898816212
address: Sofia 1632, Ovcha kupel-2, bl.29, entrance. D, ap.57

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