Filming is resisting: achievements and challenges of more than 50 years of UFF’s Cinema course

The cinema is alive! This is the impression of those who watch the images told in reports by the many characters that animated the history of UFF’s Cinema and Audiovisual Studies undergraduation throughout its more than 50 years of existence. There are many scenes, milestones, moments of climax and tension, experimentations, plot twists… The movement never seems to stop. Recently, the course crossed a high point of its script — permanently open and written by many hands. In a ceremony that took place in September at the Forcine Congress, he received the title of Cultural Heritage of the city of Niterói.

For the former coordinator of the Bachelor of Cinema and Audiovisual Studies at UFF and professor at the Film and Video Department, Elianne Ivo Barroso, “this recognition puts us in a prominent place, especially at a time when we are experiencing a dismantling of cultural institutions, such as the end of the Ministry of Culture and the neglect of the Cinemateca Brasileira, which had its employees laid off and is no longer functioning, putting the audiovisual heritage at risk.” In addition, she emphasizes that the award crowns a long process of engaging teachers, students, and employees in the course: “it is really a collaborative work in favor of a prosperous education and in the realization of an audiovisual with quality. Everyone concerned with the cultural and social consequences of this production spanning generations.”

The pandemic has come to prove how much we have become dependent on audiovisual and how much we need to discuss it to reflect on so many things that affect this use of visuality.


Elianne Ivo,
professor at the Film and Video Department

As highlighted by the teacher, the title bears the unmistakable mark of the history of these more than five decades of existence. And testimonies remain when it comes to this. Antônio Carlos Amâncio, better known as “Tunico”, retired professor of the course, for example, started his career at the institution as a student, 50 years ago. He reports that, as a teacher, he was on all fronts of the political battle for the consolidation and expansion of studies and the practice of cinema in the institution: “all reason for the same pride to be able to do my job, with pleasure.”

The professor says that the course in Niterói was, for a long time, the only reference for professional training in the metropolitan region, and many of the students settled in the broad spectrum of cinematographic activity, publicizing the quality of the joint work, done with difficulties and needs. In reference to a speech by the current coordinator, Tunico points out that what moves them is the “surname UFF”. According to him, this brand “translates our effort to mold personalities and professionals by free expression and by the commitment to the improvement of social reality.”

The curriculum of the achievements accumulated during all these years of great effort and investment is enormous. Starting with the productions of undergraduates of the house, like the renowned filmmakers Tizuka Yamazaki, Lael Rodrigues, Rosane Svartaman, Eduardo Nunes, Gustavo Pizzi, and Allan Deberton. Elianne Ivo points out that many alumni films were chosen to participate in national and international festivals. For example, three times, the Cinema course was selected for the Cannes Festival. Other exhibitions, over the years, have also featured UFF productions, such as the San Sebastian Festival, the Venice Festival, and the Locarno Festival, among others.

Another important highlight is the creation of the Brazilian Festival of University Cinema, which is still a reference among cinema students in Brazil. And for the partnership established 10 years ago with the Réseau international Universitaire de création Numérique (RUN), with schools in France, Canada, China, Tunisia, and Lebanon. In the outreach area, the coordinator points to Inventar com a Diferença (Invent with a Difference), a cinema, education, and human rights project with a national dimension and under the direction of professor Cezar Migliorin. From there, the course was invited to form a cooperation agreement with Uruguay’s Cineduca, through the Brazilian Cooperation Agency and the Agencia Uruguaya de Cooperación Internacional.

Also in the outreach area, Elliane Ivo mentions the Sala Escura and Muito Catálogo movie clubs, coordinated respectively by the teachers Fabian Nunez and Nina Tedesco, and, finally, the organization of the 4th BRICS Film Festival, directed by the teachers India Mara Martins and Rafael de Luna, who was a milestone at UFF’s Cinema course for its international developments. During this event, the Araci Incubator for Cinema and Audiovisual Projects was launched, which assists professors, students, and alumni, “supporting projects and connecting all these bounds of the UFF Cinema ‘family’,” she emphasizes.

Among the great achievements of recent years in the field of teaching, outreach, and research, the teacher mentions the creation in 2017 of the Graduate Program in Cinema and Audiovisual (PPGCINE). According to her, “few programs start with a master’s and doctorate at the same time. In part, this was made possible by the projection of the Undergraduation in Cinema at UFF.” Tunico Amâncio not only agrees with the professor but also stresses that this “upgrade” of the course “unequivocally marks the presence of the university in the Brazilian audiovisual field: in cinema, on television, on social networks, and in cultural, teaching, and research institutions.”

Passionate about cinematography and very proud of all the successes achieved over the years by the course, many of which he collaborated directly to achieve, the professor explains that the “seventh art” has a key role in the world in which we live. “In its various windows, it constitutes a process of reading reality capable of motivating its viewers in a very particular way, summoning many affections in their perception. Conflicting, bold, realistic, or imaginary ideas are thrown in order to be felt, perceived, and discussed. A plural cinema represents a plural society,” emphasizes Tunico.

For the professor, Brazil had been going through a very rich moment with regard to the “expression of the readings, the yearnings, and dreams of Brazilians, but it entered a difficult phase, thanks to religious fundamentalism and political conservatism that invaded the institutions to paralyze and mute them. The State behaves as if it were the arbiter of a match whose outcome is already known and wants to completely inhibit the opponent, using discontinuity and even censorship as arguments. To regain the sense of history, it is time to resist!”

In tune with Tunico, and almost in chorus, Elianne states that in Brazil today, cinema is first of all resistance: “in a world where everything is an image, creating our own audiovisual narratives and seeing ourselves represented is fundamental. We cannot be content with being mere consumers of foreign series and films that show realities that are far from ours. We need to see ourselves on the screens, understand ourselves as a social group, and register our history and our concerns. The pandemic has come to prove how much we have become dependent on audiovisual and how much we need to discuss it to reflect on so many things that affect this use of visuality. In addition, cinema is a logic that crosses our way of experiencing the world, and our affections and, therefore, it is essential not only to make cinema but also to think about it. The university and the Cinema course fulfill this function and help to transform the present and build a more just society,” she concludes.

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