Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Summer of Gods - Eliciana Nascimento


About the film:

The Summer of Gods is a short film about a troubled girl named Lili who unites with her Afro-Brazilian religious ancestry on a summer visit with family to their ancestral village in rural Brazil. Soon after her arrival, she encounters Orishas (African gods) who join with her grandmother to help her find peace with a gift
that has previously vexed her. The film is set in the Northeast of Brazil where Afro-Brazilian religious traditions remain strong. Lili's Grandma is a well revered local priestess who honors the Orishas. Lili is blessed by the goddesses as well. To preserve tradition, they lead her on a mystical adventure through a nearby forest which symbolizes her initiation into the tradition.


About the Filmmaker:

Film director Eliciana Nascimento now holds an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Cinema from San Francisco State University. This was her MFA thesis film and her second narrative film.

Eliciana: “My interest in telling this story is to help preserve my ancestors’ traditions. Personal life experience informs its characters and theme as many elements of the film are pulled from my own childhood memories. As a native Brazilian living in a foreign country, I have developed an interest in Pan-African themes. I have noticed that the issues Afro-Brazilians face in Brazil are similar to those faced by African descendants here in the United States and in nations throughout the Americas. As a storyteller and social activist, my motivations around filmmaking are rooted in telling stories of people from the African Diaspora who have often been marginalized by societies and the mainstream film industry. My goal is to use cinema as a tool to reveal the beauty, culture and mythology of these people.

 Above text and images taken from The Summer of Gods website.

Here is a blurb that I found on Indiewire:
As the filmmaker herself describes her film which is...
...set in the Northeast of Brazil where Afro-Brazilian religious traditions remain strong. In the film, Lilli's grandmother is in charge of an annual celebration for the Orisha Yemanj√°. In real life, the event is known in Brazil as Festa de Yemanja and it is the largest Orisha celebration in the country. In this event, devotees of African religious traditions dress in all white to take their offerings to the sea to thank Yemanja for helping them in their social and political struggles. In The Summer of Gods, this celebration is at risk of expiring because Lili’s great-grandmother is about to pass away. Grandma is a well revered local priestess who unites her community to honor the Orishas. Lili is blessed by the goddesses as well. To preserve tradition, they lead her on a mystical adventure through a nearby forest which symbolizes her initiation into the tradition.

This film looks so interesting!  I know very little about the Orishas, but I am very, very drawn to Yemaya/Yemanja.  I definitely want to see this film when it is released - too bad I wasn't still in The Bay Area where I could see it tomorrow in Oakland!

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