Women and Muses: Cinefest Luso Mundo
“In this edition of the festival we chose to bring the feminine universe to the forefront. Why? To challenge the viewer to really reflect on issues that remain far from resolved today: gender identity, gender stereotypes, empowerment and representation of women. With Cinefest Luso Mundo, we aim to open the debate on social issues that affect Portuguese-speaking communities, but also the world in general.”
These were the words of Monica Musoni, press officer for the Cinefest Luso Mundo, which will take place between 23rd and 29th of October in several venues in Brussels. The festival has been made possible with the support of the Embassies of Angola, Brazil and Portugal. For this year’s edition the festival bears the name, “Women and Muses”, with the goal of showcasing the work of several female directors. Films that depict the lives of women in the world through different lenses, often from unexplored and fresh angles. In Belgium there is the festival Elles Tournent, which has served as the much needed outlet for female film directors. And this year, Flagey and Cinematek organized a cycle dedicated to Flemish female filmmakers.
“There are several film festivals exclusively dedicated to women directors, festivals that aim to change an industry that is still dominated by men,” said Musoni. “But when we chose to dedicate the 1st edition to women, it was more for the fact that we all knew we came from different Portuguese-speaking countries, with the perception of gender and women in each one being different, and yet so similar.”
Belgium has a very rich history of Portuguese immigration, which has given much life and diversity to so many neighborhoods in Brussels.
“That is one of the reasons why we thought it was important to organize the festival here,” said Musoni, “to promote the artistic dialogue between professionals living in Belgium, and those living in Portuguese-speaking countries.”
One additional feature of the Cinefest is the Creative Residence, which has set the challenging goal of producing a short film during the festival itself.
“The Residence will gather together all the attending directors, as well other artists that live and work in Brussels, many of them from different backgrounds. The result will be the production of a short-film, which will be shown at the closing ceremony on October 29th at the Ravenstien Gallery. It has been incredible to see how many artists, dancers and filmmakers have shown interest to participate in this festival. Even now, we are still receiving proposals for films to be shown during the weekend in Bruegel Cultural Center.”
The recognized lusophone countries are: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, with Goa, Galicia, and Macau being listed as lusophone territories. The festival will include the projection of nearly forty films from six of the recognized Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as a series of debates on topics like: Early motherhood, Identity and gender, Cinema and feminism in Brazil, among others. The locations where the films and debates will take place are: The Embassy of Portugal, The Embassy of Brazil, Le Cercle de Voyageurs, Ravenstein Gallery, Centre Culturel Bruegel, and Cinema Galeries.
Some of the films that will be shown are: Njinga, Rainha de Angola, by Sérgio Graciano (Angola); Nise, by Roberto Berliner (Brazil); Virgin Margarida, by Lícinio Azevedo (Mozambique); Correspondences, by Rita Azevedo Gomes (Portugal), among many others.
Cinefest Luso Mundo wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the following production companies: Terratreme Filmes, CRIM Produções, Audiovisuais, Colectivo DAFB, Agencia Sport Film Agency, AVPL Animais, Parallax Produces, Cinema do Brasil, FilmoGrafo.