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A display of this year's films | Courtesy of Festival de Cinema Latino-Americano de São Paulo

São Paulo's Latin America Film Festival Champions Women Directors

Picture of Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown
Updated: 11 January 2017
A feminist wave has been growing in strength and significance across Brazil in retaliation to the country’s male-dominated culture. This year’s Latin America Film Festival of São Paulo marks the growing presence of women in regional film production by opening with a feature by the female Brazilian director Anna Muylaert.

The Latin America Film Festival of São Paulo will celebrate its 11th edition of the event this year, with each year gaining more credibility, new filmmakers, and an increasingly strong fan base. The event opened on July 20th and will continue until July 27th at the Memorial da America Latina in São Paulo.

Over the course of this week, the festival will screen over 118 films from 13 different Latin American countries and will include debates and meetings with the audience. The theme of this year’s festival is the importance of women film writers and directors. From the 118 films screened, 53 are by women, and from the debate speakers, 66 percent are women. It is an exciting year for regional female filmmakers, giving them a platform to showcase their work unlike ever before.

The festival was launched in 2006 by Brazilian curator João Batista de Andrade. It has two key aims. First, to promote talent and film production in Latin America, giving this huge region an opportunity for filmmakers to show their works. Without such an important channel, funding would inhibit these films from ever being publicly shown.

Second, while still supporting classic films, the festival has at its core the aim to open doors to new development in the industry and act as a means for young people to share new ideas and innovations. This year, there is a particularly large presence of Mexican cinema.

The 2016 festival honors celebrated São Paulo writer-director Anna Muylaert by opening the event with her feature, Mãe Só Há Uma (Don’t Call Me Son). During the festival, 23 of her films will be screened, including some from her early career that have never or rarely been shown before.

Another program scheduled for the festival is Golden Age Divas, which focuses on Mexican actresses of the 1940s, including Maria Feliz, Ninon Sevilla, Marga Lopez, and Stella Inda. The exhibition will include such film noirs as Na Palma de Tua Mao (In the Palm of Your Hand), Outro Amanhecer (Another Dawn), and A riqueza do Diabo (The Wealth of the Devil).