Note from BW of Brazil: Brazilian Cinema is yet another of the seemingly endless areas of Brazilian society where one will note a glaring invisibility of Afro-Brazilian perspectives, directors and protagonists. And it’s not because Afro-Brazilian filmmakers don’t exist. As quiet as it’s kept, as they are simultaneously made invisible in the world of Brazilian Cinema, black Brazilian filmmakers have been receiving numerous awards and accolades from foreign as well as Brazilian film festivals and award ceremonies. Although widespread distribution and the recognition from the average consumer of film is still not there, these are actually exciting times for black Brazilian filmmaker that is managing to get his or her work done as well as presenting black themes and protagonists that are almost completely invisible in Brazilian Cinema. Cida Reis is yet another filmmaker doing her part to tell stories and bring a black view to the screen.
Cida Reis, woman, black and filmmaker
By Igor Rocha
Cida Reis talks about her career, blackness on the screens and her projects in the audiovisual
Having graduated with a degree in history, with postgraduate in Public Administration and filmmaker, Cida Reis has more than 20 years as a public servant and 14 years as a producer and documentary filmmaker. She began her career in cinema as a research coordinator at the Audiovisual Reference Center of the City Hall of Belo Horizonte (CRAV), in 2001 with the task of developing image research and testimonies on Afro-Brazilian Religiosity, Memory of the Worker and Memory of the Music, in Belo Horizonte.
According to the filmmaker, she opted for documentary cinema because of conjunctural issues, since the work in the CRAV was directed for research and records and in addition, the cinema of fiction and animation requires more financial resources than documentary cinema. Reis also points out that the public policies of encouraging the audiovisual sector, in the Municipality and State, have always been very limited and closed to a small group.
Her inspiration for arguments arises from various situations such as readings – tales, novels, poetry -, oral narratives of black people, situations like the death of black youth, religious intolerance and the challenges of survival in today’s scenario. Her goal is “To re-tell a story from another perspective, such as a historiographical review,” she revealed.
Cida also points out that Ousmane Sembene, Akira Kurosawa and Jeferson De were some of the black directors who influenced her at the beginning of her career but she is now inspired by the new black Brazilian filmmakers. “The main influence of my generation, with little money, was TV. Cinema was a little accessible entertainment: because of price and geographical location. From the reading of Bell Hooks texts, especially “The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators”, I could identify my lack of motivation and annoyance, in the few times I went to the movies I noticed the absence of blacks and, especially, of black women in the films,” she revealed.
The filmmaker says that with the advent of VHS tapes, her weekend’s entertainment was watching American films with black actors such as Danny Glover, Denzel Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes.
Cida Reis has produced and co-directed two feature films: Salve Maria – Memória da Religiosidade Afro-Brasileira em Belo Horizonte: Reinados Negros e Irmandades do Rosário (Hail Maria – Memory of Afro-Brazilian Religiosity in Belo Horizonte: Black Reignings and Brotherhoods of the Rosário), released in 2006 and Um Olhar sobre os Quilombos no Brasil (A Look at the Quilombos in Brazil) – 2006. The film about the quilombos was released as a full length, but later made available on the internet as five short films. For two years she has participated in the Coletivo Coisa de Preto (Black Thing Collective), where they discuss the importance of constructing an audiovisual that contemplates the stories, points of view, aesthetics and the presence of Afro-Brazilian people in cinema. The collective created a channel on YouTube and launched a series entitled “Vendedora de Sonhos” (Dream Seller). Cida Reis informs Notícia Preta (Black News) website first hand that she is developing projects for the production and release of three feature films in the next two years.
As for the power of influence of cinema, according to Reis, the seventh art is perhaps the one that has the greatest power of influence both for good and for evil. “Through cinema, the imagination of a people can be strengthened as in the case of American whites, or subjugated, as in the case of the black people in Brazil and the Latin American Diasporas, she emphasizes.
Cinema and Society
Society, over time, has been evolving and creating new concepts, especially in relation to new technologies and the use of tools to disseminate the works. According to Cida, the web opened a unique window of great importance, especially for the cineastas negros (black filmmakers) who did not have the conditions and visibility to show their productions. “The availability of my productions on the internet allows everyone who participated in my videos to see, show to their friends and family. For the market, it opened up new possibilities for financial gain. For the filmmakers the internet also influences because it facilitates access to our work, facilitates the dissemination, brings our work closer to the target audience and future partners,” she points out.
To conclude, Cida Reis reveals that producing a documentary is a unique experience of human growth. “You need to listen attentively and honestly at the same time. The speaker needs to feel free to tell his story to someone who is interested in hearing it. The exchanges I have experienced in the productions produced have created new perspectives in the field of the sacred, in the community relations and experiences, in cultural diversity.”
Source: Notícia Preta