By Daniel de la Calle
I apologize for not having posted any entries since last year. As a little kid I loved the whole early January game of not-having-seen, not-having-done, not-having-eaten or drank something “since LAST YEAR”. In this case, though, it really feels like an unfairly long time.
I happen to be in Brazil once again, for the fourth time since 2009. A Sea Change was invited to participate in a new environmental film festival called CINECIPO taking place in a small town in the Serra do Cipó National Park (Minas Gerais). I had thought or returning since last June to shoot a documentary short of my own and I think that Barbara Ettinger and Sven Huseby saw this as an opportunity to help me out with my projects and some more exposure and information about Ocean Acidification in this vast country. You might have heard the news about the floods and the landslides that have killed hundreds of people in Rio. Here in Minas and over in Goias, where I was filming last week, it has rained on a daily basis, but things are not so dramatic, just ridiculously humid. Clothes do not dry, skins shine with a mix of sweat and water, there are traces of mud on anything that is not at least three feet above ground, but that is all. I have learned that electronics do not fry with water as easily as I thought and that you should always keep the car window closed when parked on the street. All valuable stuff.
So, about the festival: you have to pay close attention not to pass the small town of Serra do Cipó. At first it looks like a small concentration of hostels and restaurants stretched over two miles of slight uphill road. This seems like the single road/street until you venture on to any of the dozens of dirt paths heading into the forest and discover that all streets are unpaved, extremely uneven, very very muddy at the moment, and that there are hundreds of houses hidden in the mesh of pequi trees, palms, brush, vines. I am attaching a couple pictures that will do a much better job depicting this location.
Films are shown in two locations, one is the park headquarters and the other a half open venue not far from the supermarket and restaurants. Serra do Cipó attracts a lot of people from nearby Belo Horizonte (5.4 million inhabitants including the metropolitan area!) on weekends and that, combined with a local population thirsty for entertainment and information, is doing the miracle of almost filling all seats every night. A Sea Change has not been screened yet, it will show tomorrow just before the closing ceremony, but I have already had a couple endearing chats about film making and the environment with locals and some children attracted by my laptop and foreigner looks and have thoroughly enjoyed several of the films these first two days as well. Actually, these might not be the best words to use, since almost all themes and content is depressing, alarming and/or infuriating, but it is fantastic and a real privilege to have access to information, to be educated and to see so many people devoting their lives to publicly denounce the many things done wrong around the world.
I am late for tonight’s screenings, more on Monday.