ERIAC Announces Winner of Marché du Film and ImpACT Lab scholarship in Cannes

Alina Șerban has been selected as the winner of ERIAC’s Scholarship for Producers awarded in partnership with Marché du Film and ImpACT Lab, offering the opportunity to participate in the ImpACT Lab Workshop, taking place during Cannes Film Festival 2024. Șerban’s in-development debut feature film, “I Matter,” resonated strongly with the criteria set out by ERIAC, demonstrating both quality and potential for international collaboration.


The selection process for the ERIAC x ImpactLab Scholarship involved the review of eight portfolios submitted by  industry professionals dedicated to advancing Roma representation in film. Our international Jury, comprised of Katalin Bársony (Filmmaker, Executive Director of Romedia Foundation), Jake Bowers (Journalist, Producer, Filmmaker), Sári Péli (Line Producer, Production Manager), Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka (Deputy Director, European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture), meticulously evaluated each application. Their focus was on identifying emerging producers who not only showcased a commitment to fostering a more sustainable film industry but also met the stringent criteria set forth by Marché du Film. This comprehensive approach ensured that the chosen recipient would possess the necessary qualifications and dedication to effectively bridge the gap between cinematic portrayals and the lived experiences of contemporary Roma communities across Europe.


ERIAC’s commitment extends beyond scholarship alone. Building on the considerations of the Jury, the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture is supporting the participation of Vera Láckova and her in-development documentary “Do Magic” in the Producers Network Events of Marché du Film – Cannes Film Festival, taking place 15 – 22 May 2024


We include the statements of the Jury with the emphasis that ERIAC is looking forward to widening existing partnerships and creating further similar possibilities for Romani filmmakers and film producers on the long run!


“Based on the quality of the applications and the confirmed financing of the film, previous awards, potential for international co-productions and the creative presentation of the film, the awardee of the Marché du Film ImpACT Lab scholarship is Alina Șerban, who is working on the production the first feature fiction film directed by a Romani woman, with strong autobiographical references. Congratulations and I wish her great success with her pitches in Cannes and with the production of “I Matter “. –  Katalin Bársony


“As a Jury we had the very difficult decision of deciding on only one Romani film maker to send to Cannes and after a very robust discussion we decided to award the scholarship to Alina Șerban, on the grounds that her feature film best matched the criteria and had the greatest potential to break the glass ceiling that excludes Romani film makers from mainstream cinema. Her proposal for a feature length version of her short film “I Matter” was given very strong competition most notably by excellent ideas from Vera Láckova and Sami Mustafa and many other Romani film makers.” – Jake Bowers


„After working with first feature directors and producers several times in the past years, I see how incredibly hard it is to get established in the industry. It is not enough to get one opportunity for visibility and excell once, these young professionals must grab every chance to be there and get noticed again and again. The ImpACT Lab scholarship is an opportunity to step into a territory that allows young producers to get in contact with those industry members, who can boost their project’s implementation. As a production oriented person, my first consideration was, if the proposed feature film of the applicant is feasible; on a second thought, I examined how much added value the participation at the workshop and networking events may bring to the realisation of the project;


My last but not the least point, as someone who also likes to watch films, I contemplated the projects that are the most appealing to me as a future audience. Among the applications, three young producers stood out, based on these considerations.


Both Vera Lackova’s and Sami Mustafa’s planned feature documentaries are films I can’t wait to see. Both filmmakers already have experience with feature documentaries, which shows they have the resilience that is required to produce a feature film. The frill-free, easy approach that surrounds Vera’s  „Do Magic” teaser and the community building power that comes through Sami’s every bit of work I saw, are values I think we must highlight.


The third young producer, who became my first choice for the scholarship however is Alina Șerban and her project, „I Matter”. Producing a feature fiction film is an effort unmatched to any other line of art. Fiction films are in my opinion today’s cathedrals, countless people and resources are needed to make one happen. Alina is on a very good track to make a fiction feature film happen, that is to be produced by a Roma producer, telling the story she wants to tell, the way she wants to tell it. That is an effort, that needs every bit of support and opportunity to find allies. I believe Alina can continue to build her cathedral with this scholarship. Congratulations to all applicants, they all deserve the best opportunities for their work”. – Sári Péli

At the heart of the world’s most prestigious film festival, the Marché du Film welcomes participants from all over the world every year. To date, it represents the largest international gathering of professionals in the film industry. impACT aims to spark dialogue about the topics shaping today’s cinema climate and give industry pros the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions and take action to make changes that will influence the sector in years to come. For more information on ImpACT Lab and Marché du Film activities in Cannes, visit: www.marchedufilm.com