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By Sarah Coursey, Editor

Breakdancers perform at CCBB during the film breaks at  Cinecufa, photo by Fabiana for Cinecufa.
Breakdancers perform at CCBB during the film breaks at Cinecufa, photo by Fabiana for Cinecufa.

RIO DE JANEIRO – CineCufa – International Festival of Films from the Periphery – is gearing up for its final days of screenings on July 8th and 9th at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB – Bank of Brazil Cultural Center). The festival features films from favela residents and those representing favelas in Brazil and other parts of the world.

Now in its third edition, the event is showcasing 161 feature-length and short films from countries such as France, Italy, the US, Argentina, Uruguay, Columbia and Brazil.

With the advent of technologies such as digital cameras and cellular phones, many favela residents have been inspired to capture their realities and tell their unique stories on film. Increasingly streamlined and inexpensive mediums of production have acted both as a conduit and tipping point to these films being made at all.

This new aesthetic and cultural revolution was born from the necessity of the favela to claim its identity in the first person. Instead of sitting by while documentary filmmakers continue to create a vision of favela life, residents have proactively taken the focus back to the source.

The CCBB is hosting screenings of films on July 8th and 9th at 12:30PM, 2PM, 4PM and 6PM. They will also be holding a special workshop on closed captioning and sign language for film.

In addition, on July 8th open-air screenings will be held in Praça dos Eucaliptos (Eucalyptus Square) in the neighborhood of Queimados, at 6:30PM and 8PM. Lastly, Rio’s Secretary of Culture, Adriana Scorzelli Rattes, will be speaking on the topic of entrepreneurialism in filmmaking at the CCBB on July 9th at 11:30AM.

Kourtrajme's breakout film 365 Hours in Clichy Montfermeil, photo by Kourtrajme Productions.
Kourtrajme's breakout film 365 Hours in Clichy Montfermeil, photo by Kourtrajme Productions.

In conjunction with the Year of France in Brazil, Cufa has invited the film collective Coletivo Kourtrajmé to host a very special session at CCBB on July 9th at 6:30PM. Kourtrajmé is a group of French artists from the suburbs of Paris who became famous for filming the conflict between the police and youths of the neighborhood Clichy Montfermeil.

Formed by directors, actors, musicians, singers, dancers and graphic designers, Kourtrajmé was founded in 1995 with the short film “Paradox Lost”, the first film co-directed by Kim Chapiron and Romain Gavras.

Cufa, video producers since 2001, boast an average of 200 collaborators per year. The collective identified a gross oversight in the festival market for films that depicted life in favelas, and hence CineCufa was born. Their aim is to show as many diverse films as possible representing the total spectrum of favela life.

“We hope to add value to the productions of favela cineastes, to help foment the construction of an identity that passes on to become a force in the international film market,” noted Nega Gizza, one of the curators of the festival.

CineCufa is showcasing films with the favela as the main protagonist, whether it be in front of the cameras or behind the scenes. Following last year’s success, the festival competition will conclude on July 9th when winners from the following categories will be announced: jury award and audience award. With the support of Rio’s Secretary of Culture, the awards will serve as incentives for its winners to produce further films.

“This (government sponsorship) proves that CineCufa is on the right path, giving visibility to talented filmmakers whose works normally wouldn’t be given access to movie theaters,” commented Anderson Quak, one of the founders of the Cufa film course offered by Cufa and festival organizer. “It’s the favela showing the world what it thinks, and writing its own history,” he added.

For more information on Cinecufa, visit their website: http://www.cinecufa.com.br

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