On September 14, the 4th edition of the American Independent Film Festival starts in Bucharest. Cinema lovers are expected from Monday to Sunday, September 20, to watch the latest films of renowned actors like Shia LaBoeuf, Sigourney Weaver, Maya Hawke and Riz Ahmed. The films are screened for the first time in Romania, and in open air settings. The festival through Cinemascop Association donates all its proceeds from the screenings at the National Museum of Art of Romania – Museum Courtyard, Peasant Museum Cinema Open Air and Mercato Kultur, to the campaign Change Their Story!, launched by the Association OvidiuRO in order to emphasize the importance for all children to have access to good early education and to provide the necessary funds to offer books to preschool children.

Maya Hawke, the daughter of the famous actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, gives an exclusive interview for the festival, talking about reading, the importance of children’s education, books that marked her childhood, cinema and the most pleasant memories from her visits to Romania while joining her grandmother Leslie Hawke, the co-founder of the OvidiuRO Association. The pre-recorded interview will be broadcast on Thursday, September 17, at the National Museum of Art of Romania – Museum Courtyard, from 19:30, before the screening of the film Mainstream, directed by Gia Coppola, in which Maya plays alongside Andrew Garfield. Maya Hawke had her first role in 2017 as Jo March in the BBC series Little Women, and is part of the cast of the Netflix-produced series Stranger Things  (2019), where she plays Robin. Mainstream, this year in the Horizons competition of the Venice Film Festival, will be screened for the first time in Romania at the American Independent Film Festival.

In this new reality generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, children living in disadvantaged environments have no access to kindergarten and online school, so the educational gap widened and the chances of dropping out of school increased. In addition, children from poor families do not have books at home at all, and in kindergartens in disadvantaged areas there are often only coloring books, which creates a major impediment in preparing these children for school. In Romania there are, according to data provided by the NIS, approximately 600,000 preschool children (3-5 years) and 35,000 educators. About 83% of children are enrolled in kindergartens. This percentage is 10% lower in rural areas than in urban areas. But the major problem remains the extremely low kindergarten attendance of these children. Unfortunately, the early dropout rate of kindergarten and school in our country remains at one of the highest levels in Europe, against the background of the degree of poverty and the low degree of education of parents – 18.1%, with a higher percentage of 26.6% in rural areas, compared to 10.6% which was the European average in 2018.

Through the campaign Change Their Story!, the OvidiuRo Association appeals to all those who can and want to get involved to support the preschool education of a poor child – by sending an SMS (recurring donation, 2 EUR / month), at 8844 with the text BOOK. Each SMS sent means a book that will be given to a poor child. Most of the time, it will be his first book. It will be the beginning of a new story, maybe it will be the window for a better future.

The campaign is launched at the American Independent Film Festival (AIFF), the 4th edition, which takes place outdoors at the National Museum of Art of Romania – Museum Courtyard, Peasant Museum Cinema  Open Air, Mercato Kultur, Event Park Snagov , Deschis Gastrobar and Cinema drive-in Military Shopping.

The complete program and news about the films and events of the festival can be found on filmedefestival.ro, on the Facebook American Independent Film Festival and Instagram (@AmericanIndependentFilmFest).

Tickets for the screenings at the National Museum of Art of Romania – Museum Courtyard, Cinema Peasant Museum Open Air and Mercato Kultur are available online on Eventbook.ro. Tickets for Event Park Snagov through its own network. Access for the screenings at Deschis Gastrobar and Cinema drive-in Militari Shopping is free upon prior reservation. Detailed information about reservations and ticket purchase on: https://filmedefestival.ro/american-independent-ff/editia-2020/american-independent-ff/en/tickets/

Details regarding the access and the health rules that must be observed during the duration of the screenings and events within the festival can be consulted in advance on https://filmedefestival.ro/american-independent-ff/editia-2020/american-independent-ff/en/safety-rules/