The Cannes Film Festival : Interview with a Romanian Actress Alina Serban

Alina Serban is 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. Lately, she’s in a Macedonian-born Australian filmmaker director Goran Stolveski’s film, Housekeeping for Beginners which won the Queer Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and also won the best international narrative features at Newfest : New York’s LGBT Film Festival.

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.

Alina Serban 1


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.

Alina Serban recently won Best Actress for her short film Letter of Forgiveness at the International Film Festival Manhattan 2023.

Alina Serban

© Eventpress Radke

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