On Monday, we attended the Pan African Film Festival, held at Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15. Our cousin, filmmaker, Guenny Pires invited us to watch a film by a Brazilian director. The movie is called Let’s Make a Toast (Vamos Fazer um Brinde) by Director Sabrina Rosa and producer Cavi Borges.
The film is a about a group of middle-class Brazilian friends who meet for a small New Year’s Eve party. We enjoyed the movie which was a wonderful look into the daily lives of average Brazilians, but we didn’t realize the impact of the film until the question and answer period. (We actually witnessed history!)
It turns out the movie is the first film which was directed by a woman of African descent, in Brazil. We learned that the Brazilian film industry has a long way to go as far as diversity is concerned. Prior to Sabrina Rosa’s movie, people of African descent in Brazil were always depicted as poor or gangsters. Sabrina Rosa made the conscious decision to create a film with a cast of predominantly African actors.
She wanted to show the world that Brazilian Africans lived normal lives, outside of the infamous favelas depicted in films such as City of God. We also learned that Sabrina Rosa and her producer Cavi Borges are members of a group which teaches young African Brazilians how to create their own films. Their hope is to provide a place which will cultivate the talents of future filmmakers. (She is literally making the world a better place!)
Following the screening, we joined the filmmakers, at a nearby lounge, for some drinks and a little conversation; very little conversation since the women do not speak English very well. (We had to step it up and dust off our Portuguese!)
Overall, the night was a great experience and we hope to return to the festival, this weekend, in order to watch a screening by a British comedian who we also met during the night. (I’ll write about the film, if we are able to attend!)
Unfortunately that issue is not unique to Brazil. If you turn on any of the spanish channels and watch the soap operas or any show really, you’ll see that all of the protagonists or hosts are faired skinnned while the servants, laborers and side kicks are dark skinned.
Its so sad that we still struggle with racism amongst our own. And its not just the older generations, I’ve heard people in their 20s and 30s make ridiculously ignorant comments. One in particular that I loathe is, “I can’t marry someone darker then me I need to better the gene pool”
Anyway, its cool that you guys are getting to go to film festivals and see all these great films and hopefully make good connections.
You’re right; the problem is widespread and it is a shame. People who date based on skin color are idiots!
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