Letter of Forgiveness
Romania. 2020. 15 min
In the household of a wealthy Romanian noblewoman in 1855, Maria, a Roma-Gipsy slave, fights to obtain freedom for her son Dinca. Based on a true story of a Roma mother and son whose life changed the course of Romanian history by bringing about the abolition of slavery sooner. Part of a future full-length project, the short film presents a day in the household in which Maria and her son, Dinca, serve as slaves. As important guests arrive for dinner and all the slaves are making preparations, Maria and her son see this day as a chance to take a step to change their fate.
ALINA ȘERBAN is the winner of Best Actress Award at the German Actors Guild Awards 2020 for her leading role in “Gipsy Queen”, a nominee for Best Actress of the German Film Awards 2020 and the representative of Romania at The Cannes International Film Festival 2018 for her leading role in “Alone at My Wedding”.
The first one in her family to graduate high-school, she succeeded to graduate the Tisch School of the Arts in New York and obtained a master’s from Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, becoming an award-winning actress and the first Roma woman theatre and film director of Romania.
As a professional actress, Serban’s credits include numerous Shakespeare plays and productions presented at European theatre festivals . She acted opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC television series ‘The Last Enemy’, and made her debut on the silver screen with a supporting part in ‘Written/Unwritten’, a short film that won more than 20 awards.
She played the lead role and acted as a script consultant for three European film projects focusing on experiences of Roma women: ‘Written/Unwritten’, ‘Alone at My Wedding’ and ‘Gipsy Queen’. For her first leading role in cinema, Serban stars in Marta Bergman’s feature film ‘Alone at My Wedding’, which premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2018 and earned her several Best Actress awards.
She also stars as a boxer in Huseyin Tabak’s ‘Gipsy Queen’, a German Austrian production. For her performance in ‘Gipsy Queen’ she won the ‘Best Actress’ award at POFF Black Nights Film Festival Tallinn 2019, the ‘Best Actress’ award at The German Actors Guild Awards was nominated for the German Film Academy Award – LOLA.
In 2020, Serban made her debut as a filmmaker with “Bilet de iertare”/“Letter of Forgiveness”- the first film about the Roma slavery written and directed from a Roma perspective. The short film was awarded a Special Mention for Best Romanian Short Film at TIFF Transilvania International Film Festival and Best Narrative Director at Female Voices Rock, USA.
As a playwright, Serban pioneered Roma feminist political theatre, with three plays to her name by the age of 29. She led the way in 2009 with ‘Slumdog Roma’ (later renamed ‘I Declare at My Own Risk’), a poignant and often funny one-woman-show in which she recounts her life journey as a young Roma woman. In 2013, her second award-winning play explored the notion of ‘Home’. Three years later, she wrote and directed ‘The Great Shame’, Romania’s first play about the taboo topic of Roma slavery, becoming the first Roma woman director to have a play included in the permanent repertoire of a state theatre in Romania in 2018.
For promoting Roma culture, Alina Serban received an official recognition by the Romanian government and The Amnesty International Award. In 2019, she was awarded The Tajsa Roma Cultural Heritage Prize by The European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) for her artistic work and for her engagement in the activism for Roma rights.