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Short movies whirl Londoners’ minds at Brixton’s Rapport Festival

Global Girl Media UK was invited to report from the Rapport Festival in Brixton, which took place from the 28th to the 30th June 2019. The festival aims to celebrate Black culture through the lens of music and the arts. Morisha and I went to the screening of the short film, Dara: The First Time I Went to the Sky at Brixton’s “hidden” and intimate Whirled cinema on June 29th, on behalf of Global Girl Media. The short movies were part of a series of five, which were all linked via women being at the core of the stories.

Dara is a 10 year old girl living in rural Brazil with her grandparents and younger brother. The opening scene of the movie is of a young girl on a swing, with her grandma staring at the sky. The movie then cuts to Dara looking distressed over the fact that her grandparents, brother and her are moving to Sao Paulo to join her parents. She is fascinated with swinging from a rope attached to a cashew tree, and hopes to build a swing from the rope and wood. A few moments before she departs her rural home, her granddad makes the swing, but she is unable to actually use it. Her dismay is identified by her granddad who vows that they will return again. Soon afterwards, we see the grandma from the beginning of the film on the swing. It is Dara! Her beaming smile as the sunlight hit her face was a dead giveaway. She finally got her wish.

I actually forgot my glasses, so was not fully able to read all the subtitles, but the fact that I still understood what was going on was a testament to how well executed the movie was. I particularly liked the fact that the piece came full circle, with Dara returning to the place that brought her such joy as a child, and something as simple as a swing could excite Dara in both her youth and old age. The movie was centred on family, and the support, love and understanding Dara’s family had for her warmed my heart, as well as the rest of the audiences’.

The film was roughly 30 minutes and was followed by a brief panel discussion which consisted of Lara, the organiser of the event, interviewing Renato and Rita. Renato Candido de Lima was the filmmaker of the two short films, and was a MA graduate from the University of Sao Paulo. Rita was the first Afro- Brazilian MTV presenter in Brazil.

Morisha and I were also able to briefly interview Renato and Rita too, and all of the questions asked have been meshed together below:

Q: What was your inspiration behind the movies?

Renato: I have many inspirations. One is my family. My grandma, uncle, aunt came to Sao Paolo. Sao Paolo is the land of opportunity. The second story [of the series] is of the adolescents of my neighbourhood— mixed adolescents [who experienced racism]. The third theme is of desperation. I have a friend who is an actress, and writer too. She wrote a little story of a woman that waits for her boyfriend, and this black boyfriend never came. She thinks he [missed] the bus… he don’t want me. He don’t love me. Many things go through her mind [This is the inspiration for Simone, one of the other short movies]. 

Q: Did you encounter any problems when making/ producing the videos?

Renato: On the fourth day of shooting the film, the police captured a guy selling products in one of our shots and prohibited this moment of filming. We did not stop filming and were questioned by the police. 

Q: Do mixed people unite with Black people in Brazil? Are they proud of their Black heritage?

Renato: In states like Santa Catarina, it’s common for Black people to have light skin. The white people all the time know who are white and who are Black. 

Rita: In my time, 26 years ago, it was so mixed. Now, it is different. The majority of those with power in society are making an opening for those who are light skinned over those who are Black. There is a sense of unity within the Black community. 

Q: How did you break into the media industry? Did you find it difficult?

Rita: In my time, when I tried to become an MTV presenter, there were not many Black people in the media industry in Brazil, just one woman. Now she is 60 years old. In my time, just her. So for me, it’s so strange, but it was a nice job. All young people at that time wanted to be an MTV presenter. The money was good, and it’s a nice job. My family are artists as well. Before I became involved with the media, I was a dancer… fighting for my people is what I want to do. People think the UK is racist, but not like Brazil. 

Reporting from the screening was an absolute pleasure, and highlighted that positive steps are being made in the representation of BAME people in the media, not just in the UK, but also globally. 

AUTHOR: Danielle Desouza

My name is Danielle. I am 21. I am a historian, makeshift musician and aspiring political broadcaster. I am a staunch supporter of both gender and racial equality, being female and Asian. I want to edge closer to this goal daily by bringing to light these injustices, through all forms of journalism.

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