The 1st Brazil Indigenous Film Festival UK

Raising voices for Indigenous rights through the UK’s first Indigenous Brazilian film festival held at the ICA and available online.

Indigenous Exchange and Climate Action

Project Overview

The first edition of this three-day festival came to London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in October 2021 in the lead up to COp26,  the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, presenting a selection of 12 short films, documentaries and animations created by Indigenous filmmakers from Brazil. The project was a partnership between People’s Palace Projects and ICA, funded by Queen Mary University of London and The University of Manchester, and supported by APIB – Articulation of Indigenous People of Brazil.

The work on show celebrated rituals and heritage from the region, asserting rights to their lands and cultural expression, all of which has been brazenly dismantled and vilified under Brazil’s current government. The filmmakers addressed these issues both poetically and provocatively, seeking to open up conversations about our role in preserving the planet and what we can learn from Indigenous people.

The programme, which also was available online on the ICA digital platform, was curated by award-winning Indigenous filmmaker Takumã Kuikuro and Dr Christian Fischgold (lecturer in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at State University of Campinas and GCRF Visiting Researcher at the University of Manchester School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures), with days devoted to:

The Right to Earth (Friday, 22nd October 2021)

A programme of short works about different forms of Indigenous struggle – symbolic, practical, political, mythological – for the right to land.

The Ritual Dimension (Saturday, 23rd October 2021)

From sport to religion, myths to social narratives, this four-film programme documented and celebrated the Maxakali and Kisedjê peoples in rural Brazil, and showed that while rituals may be political, the political can also be ritualistic.

Orality, Film and History (Sunday, 24 October 2021)

Parakanã, Guarani–Nhandewa and Guarani–Kaiowá filmmakers produced a video-orality to present Indigenous communities’ historical, social and philosophical perspectives.

The opening night was followed by a conversation with filmmaker Takumã Kuikuro, Survival International Fiona Watson and ABIP young activist Samela Sateré Mawé, moderated by People’s Palace Projects’ director Paul Heritage. Watch the Q&A below.

The right to land, the protection of the forest and the emphasis on the possibility of a different way of life are political components of the selected films. The camera and cinema have fundamental importance, either as an instrument of ethnographic creation or protection in conflict zones. These Indigenous women and men have managed to take Indigenous cinema out of the ghetto to promote the subversion and decolonisation of previously produced images.

Takumã Kuikuro and Christian Fischgold, Festival Curators

Indigenous peoples are leading the fight against climate change. They urgently need our support in their resistance against the destruction of their traditional ways of living.

Paul Heritage, Director of People’s Palace Projects

Due to the enormous success of the inaugural weekend, the festival was extended to an extra week at the ICA.