ALTHOUGH the resident Brazilian Ambassador, Carlos Alfonso Puente, has always believed his country’s film industry is “solid and firm”, he now admits having harboured some reservations before giving a green flag for last month’s film festival.
This was despite his unquestionable confidence that his country had many cultural things to showcase and be proud of. Yet, he still had his doubts concerning having these month-long screenings.
During a conversation with him, at the embassy last Friday, Amb Puente admitted that the basis for his scepticism then was the current “economic crises” in his country. This, he said would mean they wouldn’t be able to provide the level of financial support, he felt such an affair required.
However, when he saw the arrangement members of his staff, in cooperation with the head office back in Brazil had made, he was convinced it was possible.
Another factor, which encouraged the ambassador to embark on this endeavour was securing a working partnership with the locally-based German Cultural Centre (Goethe Institut), to use their semi-open outside makeshift theatre for the screenings, every Tuesday in the month.
Given all these factors, Amb Puente says he went along and gave the go-ahead. However, after inaugurating the opening screening himself, he had to leave the country because of previously arranged engagements.
“In my absence, my coworkers here, at the embassy, took on the task of being present, representing us in the other three sessions. Even far away from Tanzania, I heard that the other three sessions were more successful than the first.
The attendance was much higher than could be possibly expected. This includes scoring records, in terms of Goethe Institut’s saying they had not seen spectators’ numbers so high,” he said. Now, Amb Puente is talking about having another festival next year.
The “success” they have attained from last month’s episode has left them, at the embassy, encouraged towards having another one next year. Therefore, they are currently looking at how they can do it better this time round.
This, Amb Puente told the ‘Daily News’ is the reason why they started early looking at all the possible alternative ways of making it better. One possible way in which they might be able to make the Brazilian Movie Month (BMM) better, he suggested, is to have more than one screenings of each film.
The reasoning is that this way more people would be able to see the films. Seeing that success brings success, he maintains, they are confident they stand a good chance of doing better next year.
Having had the BMM, he says, has fully convinced him that locals have had a chance to know more about Brazil’s “social realities”. Such issues as the “economic social disparity” in Brazil, he says was very pronounced in the four films.
This is something he also sees here, although on a lesser degree. This disparity is something all governments are trying to redress, therefore, the film’s become a good platform from which to encourage discussions on the topic.
Discussing such social disparities in a cultural event, he suggested, is very much in order. “Why not have it transpired to the local society in a cultural event, then they can think about it and maybe start to develop some kind of emulation or cooperation focused on for example, how Brazil has dealt with this issue,” he suggested.
Apart from having a film festival here, the embassy has always been looking for ways of bringing other aspects of Brazilian Art and Culture here. This is greatly based on their belief that culture is inter-related, so now that they have seen that the film festival was successful they are strengthened towards looking at other Art forms.
The Ambassador did reveal to the ‘Daily News’ that they are currently waiting for feedbacks, from the HQ, on a radio music broadcasting project, which they would like to have in operation here, by early next year.
The idea is to broadcast Brazilian music, on a national basis, with commentaries in Kiswahili. They want their music, which Amb Puente proudly reminds the ‘Daily News’ has “power ful African roots”, to be better known by locals.
“If there is a sector where you have African roots very, very marked in the Brazilian culture, it is music. I think once Tanzanians know what kind of production we have in Brazilian music they’ll enjoy it,” he says full of confidence.
This music radio broadcasting project certainly has been given a positive boost, given the number of positive results they, at the Brazilian embassy here in Dar es Salaam, had from this BMM. This Amb Puente is pleased with and on this basis now suggests that the Tanzanian embassy in Brazil should have their own film festival there.
That way Brazilians would get a better understanding of life here. Although Amb Puente had not managed to see all of the films, the Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission, Mauricio Correia, did. When approached by the ‘Daily News’ he said he believes people were interested in the BMM because it was an opportunity that they would not have had otherwise.
The fact that one film can be very different from another, he says would cause all to have similar attraction appeal, even though they came from the same country. Now when he thinks back at the event his first memories are the reactions of the public, which pleased them very much.
This was not just in terms of attendance but also the applause at the end of each screenings and the kind of remarks people made after in relations to the films. “It was very nice to see that interest and know that we could, at least in part, correspond to that demand for cultural goods from Brazil here.
So, it was very nice to have this and the films them selves. I was very happy to see those films, which I think each contributed a little bit to me,” Correia openly explained and admitted. The Goethe Institut’s Director, Eleonore Sylla, told the ‘Daily News’ they, at the venue are pleased with the cooperation established between the embassy and them.
She really liked the idea of having popcorn available throughout each screenings. This she believes helped make it more of a “going to the movies thing”, which she appreciated. She’s certainly ready to accommodate the Brazilian embassy next year, if they so require.
However, from the experience she has gathered from having their Thursday Movie Night, she would think it best to keep the number of films to four and look for other areas in which to make the screenings a special occasion.