An intimate look at the life and work of a Roma refugee from Kosovo collecting trash on the streets of Novi Sad, Serbia, ‘Active (citizen)’ is a visual ethnography focused on the material, sensorial and kinaesthetic realities of the protagonist’s work and its political and social significance – the daily activism beyond the scope of public recognition.
The film is part of a larger visual project on the ‘invisible activism’ of ethnic minorities and migrants who engage for causes beyond those important for their own community. Such activism is invisible because it happens outside any minority or migrant community structures (typical point of access for researchers and media) and because at times it takes forms which comparing to the activism of those who can afford more grand forms of activism it seems insignificant. The film approaches the question of affordability of social engagement as it is conceptualised by middle-class academics and activists.
Director Biography – Piotr Goldstein, Jan Lorenz
Piotr Goldstein (PhD, Manchester) is an interdisciplinary social scientist working at the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) in Berlin, Germany and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, UK. His research interests encompass the diversity of contemporary civic activism in Eastern Europe, the role of ethnic minorities and migrants as co-creators of local civil societies and the East-West paradigm in research.
Jan Lorenz (PhD, Manchester) is an anthropologist and filmmaker working at the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. He has done research on social belonging, religious conversion, ethics, xenophobia as well as personal and collective projects of transformation.
Roma people in Eastern Europe are typically portrayed as passive victims of overwhelming discrimination. Without negating this discrimination, ‘Active (citizen)’ focuses instead on the efforts of the protagonist who tries to improve not only his own life but also that of other citizens of the city. Through the film, we approach the question of affordability of activism as it is conceptualised by people like ourselves – middle-class academics and activists.
Project Type: Documentary, Short
Runtime: 30 minutes
Completion Date: April 30, 2019
Production Budget: 7,000 GBP
Country of Origin: Serbia
Country of Filming: Serbia
Shooting Format: Digital
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Film Color: Color
First-time Filmmaker: Yes
Student Project: No