Cinema Nosso is located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The CEO is Mércia Britto, Natalia Capano is the Institutional Manager and Luciana Rocha is the fundraiser for Cinema Nosso. While Cinema Nosso is a smaller nonprofit, their arts, education and performance organization is almost 20 years old. This article is based on an interview with Luciana Rocha by Kathryn Engelhardt-Cronk
What is the History of Cinema Nosso?
The organization started with the filming here of ” City of God,” a Brazilian film that received widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for four Academy Awards in 2004: Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay). The process for the film "City of God" united many youngsters from the communities of Rio de Janeiro. 90% of the casting was from the people of the community. So, they were not actors. The City of God (Cidade de Deus) is a favela, it’s a community here, a slum, in Rio de Janeiro. The film is based in that community.
After the filming finished, some of the youngsters who acted in the film wanted to know more about audiovisual. The directors, Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, began to provide workshops on film production for these children. As the workshops grew in size, the organization was formalized as a nonprofit with the objective of broadening the creative sense and skills of children and adolescents from the peripheral areas of Rio de Janeiro.
What are Some Examples of Cinema Nosso’s Current Projects?
Our main objective is to assist people in finding autonomy and the independence and knowledge to produce their own narrative through cinema, film production and games.
Our connection to video games started in about 2014. We initiated what we call the Games Battle (Circuito de Batalhas). We take the games to different areas, public schools and communities.
In the Games Battle, we use indie video games to promote youth access to Brazilian independent game production (Circuito de Batalhas de Games). They build competencies, abilities and skills that some video games can provide and that can be useful in their personal relationships.
We primarily use educational games. Every time we do a small workshop or lecture, the kids and their families play together. Sometimes we bring the developer, so it’s cool for them because they play the game with the person that created the game.
We talk to the kids and their parents about the stereotype of video games and that they are not all about violence and crime. Many games can be used as learning tools. At Cinema Nosso, it is very important that the children, their families and their schools are involved in the learning process, using video games as one medium of that teaching. We have a person on our team to choose the best games for the Games Battle. We choose games that several children can play at the same time. We want to promote collaborative work and other skill building. The game that we used last year was a game where not everybody wins; the point was that they worked together as a team, learning new communication and team playing skills. It was very popular.
Last year we had a big one—a Final Battle and circus. It was amazing. We had clowns. The video game was a pirate story, so we created a pirate theatrical event, as well. The kids invited their families and they played on the stage and it was unforgettable for them. We used different media—video games, costumes, acting and role-playing.
We also have two other activities. We have three areas of focus in Cinema Nosso training: school children, adolescents/young adults and a very exciting. funded training program for young, Black women.
In 2016, there was a research here in Brazil about the place of Black women in audiovisual markets. The numbers are very concerning and represented a complete lack of equity and access to education for Black women in the audiovisual industry. Given the numbers, the participation of Black women in games development was very unlikely. Based on that research, we started a project called Empowering Women in Cinema: Black Women in Audiovisual. This project started last year. It’s an audiovisual and games training program for Black Brazilian women. We have three programs: documentary, fiction film, and games development. We are at the end of the first year, and we have produced 16 short films and 1 analog game. This is very innovative project. Our research cannot identify any similar games development training designed for Black women.
We have another project that is called Super Hacka Kids. This was started last year. It was to be a small activity, but we got partners and it has become a big event. Super Hacka Kids is a public event for kids and their families. We have lectures and workshops for the families while the kids are experiencing technology. They play analog and digital games, and they experience the VR, the lenses. This is an annual, one-day event.
After this event, we made a course for kids from the public schools. We selected 20 kids, 8-12 years old, and they learned how to make a digital game. It was a wonderful and enriching experience for the participants.
Cinema Nosso Seeking Creative Partnerships
We also have a creative community network that is very strong at Cinema Nosso. Still, we want to be more visible abroad because the world is in a very delicate moment. And here in Brazil, we have many difficulties. But Cinema Nosso is always very resistant and we always try to create new partnerships.