Twenty editions. If the event makes us very proud, it also comes with the acknowledgment of a path made possible by several people, much beyond what fits in a restricted credits list, and the responsibility of being on par a with its history. To live up to the path of this festival, of public character since its conception, means, first of all, not letting the aesthetic, political and ethical restlessness that moves us, disconcert us, insistently put us into question, to be smoothed over. This restlessness has been, more than ever, stimulated by the transformations in the production, circulation and legitimation of films and the thinking made upon them. Year after year we have followed and celebrated the extraordinary growth of the production by historical subjects who have for too long been relegated almost exclusively to object of cinema’s gaze, as part of a broader political process that has deeply affected our ways of watching, judging, selecting and thinking cinema and the structures that support it, impacting not only the selection of films, but also the diverse activities and practices that make up a festival.
Associated to this growing change (even though incipient) in the course of production and reception of the films, something that interest us is the way that this change has a kind of retroactive effect, falling upon how we build the history of cinema (which is always made up of exclusions and deletions). To revolve and retell, in other terms, part of this history, we had the fundamental participation of the cinema critic and curator Heitor Augusto, in a necessary work which combines curating and research, allowing not only to articulate what is already there to see, but also to research, discover and assemble what could not be seen; a work therefore of history prospecting. Upon our invitation, Heitor conceived the exhibition Black Brazilian Cinema – Episodes of a Fragmented History, besides a seminar which deepens the discussion of the relation of “the Black and Brazilian cinema”, and a debate that broadens the discussion to other artistic expressions, namely theater and visual arts, with the participation of thinkers who have been making pulsating reflections in their respective fields. Heitor Augusto has also actively engaged in the organization of this catalogue, proposing texts which constitute a rich critical fortune concerning the Black cinema in Brazil.
The programming of the complete filmography of the young prolific Ghanaian-American filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu will bring another fascinating profile of the Black cinema production in the world, which moves between the African continent and the Afro-American diaspora strongly motivated by gender, identity and cultural issues.
The films schedule is completed by contemporary sections with familiar headings for those who follow the Festival, but that each year are reimagined from new perspectives that cross and stress the cinema made in the present time, always having in mind the films in their singularity and also in the context of what comes to us. They are competitive – International, Brazilian and Minas – and parallel exhibitions – which, this year, include Youths, Children’s, Animation and Midnight, besides three potent variations of sections programmed in the 2017 edition: Woman: Political Body, Crossings: Memory of Matter, Altered Accesses and Overflowings: Artifice Twistings, Ways of Jumping.
Intensifying its training vocation, FESTCURTASBH also presents, with special joy, the Film Criticism Workshop – For a Displacement of the Gaze. Offered by the critic, researcher and curator Carol Almeida, the workshop proposes “not only to awaken a more attentive and active look at the films, but also understand what the definition of the cinematographic gaze implies aesthetic and politically”.
The training activities are completed by Film as collaborative art –hybrid workshop of media and performance, taught by Lynne Sachs, remarkable North-American artist who works on several modes and techniques with resourcefulness and restless inventiveness.
Resulting of the inspired and deeply dedicated work of all the staff and of the curators and guests, FESTCURTASBH, in its modest scale, wishes to contribute to the transformations in the cinematic scene, fundamental but far from enough, to be continuous and structural, both in cinema production and in the (re)construction of its history.