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Student Film Maker’s Personal Story Highlights Challenges Roma People Face in the UK

Coventry University

A proud Coventry University student who helped create a unique film featuring his pioneering mother is thrilled at the reception the project has received.

Hynek Psenicka, 20, is a second-year film production student who recently worked on a documentary film called Leaving to Remain.

The movie, which has been shown in cinemas and at film festivals this year, chronicles the experiences of three Roma people living in the UK and the challenges their communities have experienced due to Brexit and Covid-19.

One of those featured is Denisa Gannon, Hynek’s mum, who is the first Roma person to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales.   

Since gaining her qualification in 2018, Denisa has worked hard to support victims of domestic abuse and provide assistance to Roma people.

For Leaving to Remain, Hynek filmed his mum as she used her legal expertise to assist members of the Roma community, providing his footage to filmmakers in Czechia to create the finished movie.

Hynek said: “I know the film has got quite a political message but my main reason for getting involved was the chance to film my mum and tell her story. She’s one of the subjects of Leaving to Remain and I’m proud of her achievements, becoming the first Roma person to qualify as a lawyer in the UK and the hard work she’s doing to support Roma people. 

“The reception to the film has been really good. I’ve been to a couple of the showings, including in Czechia and there have been some reviews which is really cool. It’s nice that there have been discussion panels at these showings too to talk about the film.

“My ambition is to write and direct. I’m really enjoying the course, my lecturers are really helpful and the equipment is great. It makes such a difference being able to loan the equipment, it’s one of the best things about my studies at Coventry University.”

Dr Annabelle Waller, Head of School at Coventry University’s School of Media and Performing Arts, said: “Being able to showcase your work in front of an audience is an amazing experience for our student film makers, while the opportunity to work with professionals within the industry on projects such as these offers enormous benefits in gaining employment in industry.

“We do everything we can to support our Film Production students, giving them access to specialist professional equipment, fantastic technical and creative advice and a very hands-on, collaborative learning experience that helps them realise their ambitions.”

To find out more about Coventry University’s Film Production BA course, visit https://www.coventry.ac.uk/course-structure/ug/fah/film-production-ba-hons/

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