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Documentary remembers stories of human rights’ achievements in São Paulo

by Richard Meckien - published Nov 24, 2017 02:25 PM - - last modified Jan 04, 2018 04:59 PM
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Fernanda Rezende.

Lançamento Cartografia Direitos Humanos

A group of political scientists, sociologists, journalists and social activists have gathered for a documentary that helps telling part of the story of the conquest of human rights in São Paulo. To be launched next December 10 on Videocamp (English subtitles available), the film ‘Human Rights Mapping’ brings together testimonies and images to show that many of the current rights are the result of demonstrations and interventions by the population on the streets of Brazilian cities, instead of State actions. Subtitles in English will be available.

Conceived by members of the UNESCO Chair on Education for Peace, Human Rights, Democracy and Tolerance, based at the Institute of Advanced Studies (IEA) of the University of São Paulo (USP), the documentary has been produced by Imagina Coletivo and directed by Tiago Pereira. It shows the relation of the city with the struggles for the recognition and effectiveness of the equality of race, sex, gender, the fight for the right to vote, the struggle for housing and freedom of expression, among others. The UNESCO Chair was active at the IEA from April 1996 to October 2014.

The 26-minute film splits the testimonies and reports into themes related to the right to the city, rights of migrants, non-racial, gender and sex discrimination, right to work, civil rights, the rule of law and freedom of expression.

In order to tell the stories and analyze the importance of preserving the memory of such movements, many specialists have been heard: jurist José Gregori; journalist Sérgio Gomes; physicist Dina Lida Kinoshita; the leader of the ‘Housing Movement of the Center’ (Movimento de Moradia do Centro – MMC), Luiz Gonzaga da Silva, known as Gegê; Letícia Cardoso and Marcelo Hotimsky, from the Free Pass Movement (Movimento Passe Livre); Paulo Illes, from the Center for Human Rights and Immigrant Citizenship; Douglas Belchior and Milton Barbosa, both representatives of the black movement; Marcos Tupã and Jerá Giselda, from the Tenondé Porã Indigenous Lands; Waldemar Rossi, speaking of the ‘Unified Workers' Central’ (Central Única dos Trabalhadores – CUT) and the Osasco Strikes; Maria Amélia de Almeida Teles, from the Women’s Union of São Paulo and the newspaper Brasil Mulher; 'Rebeca', from the ‘March of the Bums’ (Marcha das Vadias); Fernando Quaresma, president of the LGBT Pride Parade Association; Margarida Genevois, from the Justice and Peace Commission; Belisário dos Santos Júnior, talking about the Carandiru massacre; Inês Virgínia Soares, from the Federal Public Ministry; Célia Galvão Quirino, addressing the ‘Battle of Maria Antonia’; and Binho, from ‘Sarau do Binho’.

Sociologist Sergio Adorno, then coordinator of the UNESCO Chair, and political scientist Rossana Reis, coordinator and idealizer of the Human Rights Cartography project, are also in the film.

The film came to be in 2014 from a project with the same name that addressed issues related to the theme, seeking to sensitize society and attract their attention to human rights. From this idea, places that hosted such struggles and achievements in São Paulo were selected and cataloged on a digital platform (, which georeferences and presents tour itineraries by region and theme. For each selected landmark, there are reference texts, photographs and testimonies of journalists and social activists. The system also allows new locations to be added and thus encompass even more achievements.

Among the movements and fights presented both in the video and on the platform there are: Marcha das Vadias, Unified Black Movement (Movimento Negro Unificado), CUT, Osasco Strikes, LGBT Parade, Justice and Peace Commission, UNEAFRO, Carandiru Massacre, ‘Battle of Maria Antônia’, Women's Union of São Paulo, Brasil Mulher, Tenondé Porã Indigenous Lands, Oboré, Ecumenical Act of 1975 in honor of Vladimir Herzog, Federal Public Ministry's Exposition ‘(Re) Knowing... To Never Forget!’ (‘(Re) Conhecer... Para Nunca Esquecer!’), Center for the Study of Violence (NEV), Demonstrations of June 2013, MMC, Kantuta Square and the Immigrants' March, ‘Sarau do Binho’ and the Assembly for the right to vote in the Anhangabaú Valley in the 1980s.

Production and direction

The choice of Imagina Coletivo, a non-profit organization, and Tiago Pereira for the production and direction of the documentary is in tune with the transforming character that the film seeks to have.

Pereira began his story in filming together with the birth of Imagina Coletivo, when the project Imagina na Copa was launched. It existed between 2012 and 2014. At that time, 75 web documentaries were produced in all 27 Brazilian states, telling stories of young people that act as transformers. He has also directed the short film Rolezinhos, which won as best film in the Social Vision category of the 2014 Entretodos Festival, and produced the film Guardiões de Santa Rosa in partnership with the Futura Channel.

Imagina Coletivo is currently working with social content production in different languages - workshops, courses and facilitation of meetings, and advice on mobilization, engagement and social entrepreneurship.

Financing and partnertships

The ‘Human Rights Mapping’ project was contemplated in the 2013 contest of USP’s Dean for Culture and University Extension, which financed the initiative, and had partnerships with the Maria Antonia University Center and the Federal Public Ministry. The recording of the testimonies was done with the support of TV Alesp (Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo), and the visual identity was developed by the 2012 group of Advertising of USP’s School of Communications and Arts (ECA), under the guidance of Professor Dorinho Bastos.

The Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), the Hannah Arendt Studies Center, the Rubens Paiva State Truth Commission of São Paulo, the Department of Political Science of USP’s Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Literature, and Human Sciences (FFLCH), and USP’s Postgraduate Program In Political Science have also supported the activities.