Note from BW of Brazil: It’s good to see initiatives and projects such as this one! Afro-Brazilian history and culture and discussions of the role of racism in maintaining racial inequalities in Brazil are topics and discussions that have been lacking in the country’s black communities for decades. This is not to say that Afro-Brazilians don’t have their own historic figures, important dates to commemorate, social organizations and movements because, as a number of posts on the this blog alone have shown, this history is a rich source of valuable information. What’s missing is taking these subjects, topics and debates to everyday people who never come across this information in the public school system and as such, fall victim to the mythology that racism is not a serious issue. Like other organizations and projects recently featured here (such as Manifesto Crespo and Afrobetizar), the project we feature today also has the potential of the raising the consciousness of countless people.
Black Screen Project brings black culture to the big screen and debates racism
The project began in January and debates the situation of blacks through film
By Jéssica Monteiro
Every Friday Zumbi dos Palmares Memorial houses an audiovisual project that attempts to bring black themes to the big screen of cinema. The project, called Tela Preta, meaning Black Screen, created by university students Carmen Kemoly and Ariadne Chaves, displays free black history, politics and culture, creating an enriching and constructive debate.
The idea emerged last year, but only on January 9th was it concretized. Carmen and Ariadne, Social Communication students, married their desire and coming together on a common purpose; decriminalizing black features and self-affirmation of culture. “Sometimes the people are black and don’t even know it,” said Kemoly.
The plan is simultaneously, simple and effective. In the early evening of Friday, the lights of the Memorial Zumbi dos Palmares video room go out abd the overhead projector transmits common realities to many Brazilians. After the screening of short and feature films, the audience gets together and discusses the situations portrayed in the movies. “The crowd stays and wants to talk. That’s what I find most the most interesting, “says Ariadne.
The choice of content that is transmitted passes mainly through social issues and cinema negro independente (independent black cinema) of Brazil. The two friends concern themselves with bringing to the room short films and documentaries that somehow portray the reality of spectators and situations of overcoming adversity.
“The choice passes through religious issues, why the religions of African origin are seen in such a biased way. We also showed a documentary that was on the issue of blacks in Brazilian novelas (soap operas), which is O Negação do Brasil (Denying Brazil). The issue of women. We also show a material concerning how you capture Brazil,” says the university student Ariadne Chaves. She adds that when the viewer sees their reality portrayed on the big screen he or she comes to believe that you can overcome your own situation. “I think it’s really cool the face of people recognizing themselves in the movies,” she describes.
In general, the public that follows audiovisual production of Tela Preta are young people aged between 20 and 26 years. But Carmen explains the idea is to reach mainly the periphery. “52% of the population is black and 60% of it lives in the periphery is poor and they won’t have conditions to always come here.”
Interventions in the neighborhoods
In February, at the invitation of rapper Preto Kedé, Carmen and Ariadne took the Tela Preta Project from the Memorial Zumbi dos Palmares and took it to the periphery. A white screen, an overhead projector and a black box with the project name presented cinema different for the curious eyes of the residents of Vila São José, in the Promorar neighborhood, in the South Zone of Teresina.
“It’s really cool because the guys want to talk, the guys feel a lack of artistic interventions or even someone coming there and talking to them. We thought it was really great in the São José neighborhood because the boys were very happy, mainly the children. They want to have something to do besides staying indoors and watching television,” explained Ariadne.
Taking Tela Preta to the neighborhoods, however, still represents a difficulty. Transporting the material to longer distances of the city requires, in addition to responsibility, time. “We need a team,” confesses Ariadne.
Invitations to light up the film in the periphery, however, abound. The duo has been asked to take the Tela Preta Project to Parque Vitória, in the south zone of Teresina, for example, where about 700 families recently occupied the location. “As it is to go to a neighborhood and have many children, we thought about doing a more extensive program. We also have to select the best films because we can’t show (just) anything,” said Ariadne. Carmen adds that the idea is to play games and (put on) workshops throughout the day and close the cultural programming at night, with the presentation of Tela Preta.
After a few weeks of the Tela Preta Project, Carmen says with satisfaction that the initial plan has gained much greater proportions. “It’s becoming something much bigger.”
Source: Capital Teresina