Note from BW of Brazil: Yet another story that explains the very existence of this blog. In Brazil, “tornar-se negro”, or “becoming black”, is often a process of self-realization, understanding and reflection. Brazilian culture, through its denial of the contribution of Africa and its descendants in Brazilian history and culture contributes heavily to the attempt of avoiding one’s blackness. Often times, women of clearly visible African ancestry grow up believing that they are not black or aren’t “that black”, desiring to avoid a stigmatized identity and classification. Beyond the culture, Brazilian Cinema also plays a role in this denial as it is a rarity to see a black Brazilian woman as protagonist in a film production or even rarer to see one behind the camera directing the film.
In today’s piece, three young negras brasileiras (black Brazilian women) seek to merge these two paths into a promising documentary exploring their experiences in Mozambique and the development of their identities. And as it is so difficult for black women to be able to fund their endeavors, particularly in film, they seek the resources to make this happen. You can help. Check out their story below.
You can help Brazilian cinema made by black women
The team plans to go to Mozambique in early August and, to help, they have a collective financing campaign
By Rani de Mendonça
The Brazilian audiovisual has a very recent life history compared to other countries, especially in Europe. And, this directly influences the way we do and tell stories through audio and video together. In Brazil, according to data from the Observatório Brasileiro do Cinema e do Audiovisual (Brazilian Observatory of Cinema and Audiovisual), in 2017, there were only 3,425 films registered with the Certificate of Brazilian Product, which is a document that guarantees that the film is a national product. It is like a birth certificate that proves the ownership of the Brazilian audiovisual work. And what draws attention is that of this number, 2,448 were done independently.
When these numbers are related to the production of movies by pessoas negras (black people), it’s even lower. According to data from the study “A Cara do Cinema Nacional: perfil de gênero e cor dos atores, diretores e roteiristas dos filmes brasileiros” (The Face of National Cinema: gender and color profile of actors, directors and writers of Brazilian films), conducted by researchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) and published by Jornal Nexo, “Pretos e pardos (black and brown) correspond to half the population but only 15% of the main actors and 2% of the national film directors.” Here in Recife, a group of mulheres negras (black women) are working on a project that contributes to changing that picture.
The documentary Hixikanwe – Estamos Juntas (Hixikanwe – We are Together) , was born from an individual experience of Debora Britto, director of the film, to recognize her identity as a black woman. In 2014 she lived in Mozambique, Africa, and it was there that she began to understand about her ancestry and to see herself in the pain and what it means to be a woman and black in a macho and racist society. The film wants to capture that essence. The meeting of Deborah, Safira, Mayara, Mariana, Gabriela and Magda all Brazilian with Judite, Júlia, Amélia, Madalena, Graça and Ramia, Mozambicans.
“Over the course of these four years, I have sought to understand the processes of black women in general. In dialogue with other women, we realized that we felt very similar. Even with distinct histories and different places, where we came from, we shared a feeling. That’s when we become aware of what it means to be this black woman,” Débora tells. No wonder, Hixikanwe (which gives its name to the film) means “we are together” in Xi-Changana, the mother tongue of the Southern Region of Mozambique. It is there, in fact, where the social organization of the same name, where everything started, in 2014, is also starting point for the resumption of filming in 2018.
For the executive producer of Hixikanwe, Mariana Reis, even with the promotion of public policies for the Brazilian audiovisual, it is still difficult to make movies in the country. “It is a project that was approved by Funcultura, which is a Culture Fund of the Government of the State of Pernambuco, but for approval, we had to make some adjustments of budget cuts. Making audiovisual in Brazil is still very expensive and even more so when one thinks of a cinema negro (black cinema), performed by black women, which is the weakest link in the chain. But, we believe and we are doing this work of an ant, making a web of possibilities to materialize this project,” she says.
The team plans to go to Mozambique in early August and, to help with the film’s cost, they have a collective funding campaign that anyone can donate to. Just go to www.benfeitoria.com/estamosjuntas and choose the option you want. In addition to encouraging the film, there is still a reward such as your name in thanks section of the film, shirts and mugs with exclusive Mozambican art and accessories. The donations are from $15 and continues until July 16. The format is all or nothing, if they can not meet the goal of $25,000.00, everything that has already been donated will be returned (see note one).
Editing: Monyse Ravenna
Source: Brasil de Fato
- Of the R$25,000 they seek, the women have received R$21,395, or 86% of the funding they seek as of today, July 11, 2018. The deadline to reach their goal is July 16th.