Pedro Neves Marques is a visual artist, director and writer; he lives between Lisbon and New York. He is the editor of the book, "The Forest and the School: Where to Sit at the Dinner Table?" (Archive Books, 2015), an anthology on anthropology and Brazilian Antropofagia, and the author of the fiction books "Morrer na América" (Abysmo Editora and Kunsthalle Lissabon, 2017) and "The Integration Process" (Atlas Projectos, 2012). Among other venues, he has exhibited at Contour8 Biennial of Moving Image (Mechelen), Fundación Botín (Santander), Sursock Art Museum (Beirut), e-flux (New York), Kadist Art Foundation (Paris), Sculpture Center (New York), Cuenca Biennial (Ecuador), EDP Foundation (Lisbon) and Serralves Museum for Contemporary Art (Oporto), as well as in DocLisboa Cinema Festival and Indie Lisboa International Film Festival. Together with artist Mariana Silva, he runs inhabitants, an online channel for exploratory video and documentary reporting.
Curtas Vila do Conde - International Film Festival has prepared a selection of short films to be presented next Thursday, March 16, at SACO - Contemporary Audiovisual Week of Oviedo, which will take place between March 10 and 19 in that Spanish city.
The session is composed by the films "Penúmbria" by Eduardo Brito, "Friends After Dark" by Rita Barbosa, "A Brief History of Princess X" by Gabriel Abrantes and "Small Town" by Diogo Costa Amarante, presented in world premiere at the portuguese competition of Curtas Vila do Conde in 2016, "It Would Piss me Off To Die So Yooooong..." by Filipe Abraches and "Fragments" by José Miguel Ribeiro screened in the "Portuguese Panorama" of the festival that same year.
Friday, March 17, Curtas Vila do Conde will be hosting one of the Spanish festival parties with a DJ Set of Curtas Sound System, a duo composed by Miguel Dias and Sérgio Gomes.
CURTAS VILA DO CONDE SOUNDSYSTEM
Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival has a strong tradition of music events beyond its core film programme, which can be explained for the festival’s desire for integration of other artistic forms related to cinema, but also for the personal music interests of its team members and programmers. In this particular case, the music proposed by Miguel Dias and Sérgio Gomes is also a good analogy of another important festival feature, the dialogue between history and cutting edge cinema, covering genres from obscure soul and deep funk classics to its electronic counterpoints such as ghetto-funk, glitch-hop and future beats.
Miguel Dias is a record collector interested in all shapes of jazz, soul, funk, latin and african music, specially from the 1960’s and 70’s. He’s also part of the Sete Magníficos, a collective of Porto DJs spinning classic 7" records.
Sérgio Gomes is a DJ since 1998. He has always shown an interest for contemporary and avant-garde electronic music. With its BREAKS lda. label he’s also a promoter of electronic music events in Portugal, and hosts a weekly radio show at RUM.
In Portugal, film directors, producers, actors, technicians, distributors, film festivals and cinema guilds wrote an open letter to the Portuguese government, for which they received the support of the international community of cinema.
LETTER OF PROTEST AND SOLIDARITY
For decades Portugal has distinguished itself in the international film world. Despite being a small country with a miniscule national film market (less than a dozen national feature films are distributed in theatres per year) the percentage of Portuguese films that are shown in international festivals is very high. Systematically, since the 1980’s, Portuguese cinema has been lauded with cinema cycles and tributes; retrospectives about the work of numerous Portuguese filmmakers have been hosted internationally – several of these authors are still active (some subscribing this text), others have unfortunately passed away (João César Monteiro, Paulo Rocha, Fernando Lopes, António Reis, José Álvaro Morais, António Campos and, of course, Manoel de Oliveira). The “miracle” of the high international visibility of Portuguese films in relation to the small number of films produced – throughout decades and generations – is unquestionably due to the merit of the filmmakers, technicians, actors and producers in Portugal. It was also due to a cultural strategy that stimulated the production of a Cinema marked by strong singular proposals and creative freedom.
The cultural policy that allowed for Portugal’s distinctively diverse cinema was established through a Cinema Law and a Public Institute – the ICA. ICA organizes calls for film production financing proposals, defines rigorous participation regulations, establishes evaluation criteria fitting the policy promoted by the Ministry of Culture, and selects the juries to analyze the submissions. The profile for jury members is defined by law as “personalities with recognized cultural merit and impartiality”. Thus, filmmakers and film technicians, as well as film critics, artists, writers, architects, musicians, cultural programmers or university professors were nominated to be part of the board of experts that approve film projects.
From 2013 onwards, a new decree-law (amendment) to the Cinema Law was passed and a new executive board of the Portuguese Film Institute (ICA) was established. This new board, seemingly allergic to it’s responsibility and ignorant of the ICA’s regulatory role, has outsourced the duty of nominating juries to a non-governmental committee composed of delegates with vested interests in the outcome of the support programs: representatives of television stations, cable operators, among others. This corporate committee now has the power to nominate the juries that evaluate and approve film projects financed by ICA, fomenting collusion and a clear conflict of interests since, in many cases, the committee that now selects the jury represents organizations that directly profit from the jury’s selection.
The outcome of this situation has been immediately evident: the requirement expressed in the regulation that jury members be “personalities of recognized cultural merit” has not been met. In recent years some of the jury members for cinema projects are bank managers with connections to cinema and marketing managers of telecom operators.
The current government – hostage to pressures exerted by TV cable operators – is now preparing to approve a new decree-law that perpetuates and exacerbates this problem, endangering the existence of the very cinema that has distinguished Portugal internationally. A very significant group of Portuguese filmmakers and producers stated their opposition to this promiscuous and flawed system, declaring to the government their refusal to participate in jury nominations. They do not wish to influence the appointment of juries, nor do they accept that anyone interested in the outcome of the financing programs can participate in the process. They believe that transparency can only be guaranteed if the nomination of juries is the exclusive responsibility of ICA., They call for the nomination of a directing board of ICA capable of accepting its responsibilities and conscious of ICA’s dual role as the executor of a cultural policy for Portuguese cinema and regulator of this activity.
The subscribers to this protest letter wish to remind the State that Portuguese Cinema is not exclusively a Portuguese concern. Therefore, they wish to show their solidarity with Portuguese filmmakers and producers who are opposed to this process and express their firm repudiation should the decree-law be approved.
Download the Letter HERE.
“Cidade Pequena / Small Town” by Diogo Costa Amarante has won, last Saturday, the Golden Bear for Best Short Film at Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival.
The jury, made by the geran artist Christian Jankowski, the north-american curator Kimberly Drew and by the Chilean programmer Carlos Núñez, took special note of the several framings of the film that “recalls the attention to detail, present on the paintings of the Italian renascence.”
With the director sister and nephew as stars, “Small Town” is based on a real-life episode where Francisco discovers in school that people have head, torso and limbs and, if the heart stops, they would die. This fiction is a thought process about the awareness over death, time and family.
The 20 minute short film, with Curtas Metragens CRL production, premiered in July 2016 on the 24th Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival and is part of the distribution catalogue of Agência da Curta Metragem.
Present also at the short film competition that took place at the German capital, between 9 and 19 of February, were “Altas Cidades de Ossadas / High Cities of Bone” by João Salaviza – who won the award in 2012 with “Rafa” – and “Coup de Grâce" by Salomé Lamas. “Os Humores Artificiais” de Gabriel Abrantes was the Berlin Short Film Nominee for the European Film Awards.