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!)