Olá, amigos do BANANAS!*
Bart here, back in Canada after a great experience at FICA Environmental Film Festival in Goiás, Brazil - where we won the Audience Award for favourite film.
The city of Goiás (officially Goiás Velho) is a wonderful spot, about 4 hours west from the capital of Brasilia. It’s incredibly hot in June (at least for Swedes and Canadians), somewhere around 35 degrees during the day but almost zero humidity - and about 500m above sea level.
Once the capital of the state, it’s now a UNESCO world heritage site and an example of the old colonial cities of Brazil.
You wouldn’t expect a film festival to take over such a town, but that’s exactly what it did - the whole region came out to take in the films, discussions, and cultural events organized by our wonderful hosts at the festival office.
Screenings were held in 3-hour blocks, and we screened at 2pm on Thursday to a busy theatre. School kids came in and there was a bit of buzzing and chatting during the screening…great that there was a lot of access to these films, but I must admit the noise made me anxious that the general audience wasn’t going to follow the important details of the film.
I guess I shouldn’t have worried - from the 28 films in official competition (all lengths and genres, including Oscar®-winner The Cove), the audience chose us as best film. Very flattering, and a great burst of energy for our production team after dealing with lawsuits, misinformed US media articles and a halted release strategy. Most importantly, it keeps the spotlight on the conditions of the workers in Chinandega. The win is already reported in the Nicaraguan press.
Audience Awards are always the best award to win. They rarely come with money attached (and with WG Film’s court costs, money could have helped!) - but they do what no other award can - they show that the film really struck a chord with the general viewership.
Documentarians work in alone or in small groups, and we always appreciate honest feedback. Getting a statement like this from the heartland of the largest country in Latin America is proof that the film is doing its job - and we hope this is a good step toward larger exposure in the central and southern hemisphere.
Finally, a big shout-out to our editor Jesper Osmund, who not only was part of the BANANAS!* win - he was also editor of Jakob Gottschau and Øyvind Hesselager’s Bringing Life To Space, which won the award for Best Series. Congrats J-man!
Tchau and obrigado to all,