As part of an effort to research xenophobia and document the experiences of Romanian immigrants in France, my partner, Jean-Baptiste Renaud, and I began a film project and travelled throughout France asking people for their thoughts on immigration. French citizens spoke freely and shared their opinions on discrimination, acceptance, and immigrants. Romanian immigrants also gave us their perspectives and talked about living in a world where, for the most part, they are framed by stereotypes painting them as thieves and beggars.
We have just released the film called, "Demonized: The Voices of Romanian People," that shares the stories of Romanians in France who feel stigmatized because of their nationality.
We feature the stories of eight Romanian people, some of whom are long-time residents of France while others moved here only recently. Some of the people are quite famous, like Romanian-born French world champion swimmer Roxana Maracineanu, who took home medals for France, and Rona Hartner, a Romanian award-winning actress and singer who starred in the 1997 film "The Crazy Stranger." We also interviewed a student in Lyon, doctors in a small village in the rural county of Vendée, and workers from the French nuclear industry.
Together, their experiences capture the evolution of Romanian immigration in France and the rise of negative attitudes towards immigrants.
This web documentary is participatory: we want viewers to share their videos and personal stories online and continue the conversation. We want to engage people in a conversation about their experiences-good and bad-about immigration in France.
This project received support from the Open Society Youth Initiative, the French Center for Cinema, and the European Commission.