“Bay of All Saints,” a film investigating generations of families displacement from Bahia, Brazil, will be the film screened on Saturday, January 19 as a continuation of the 2013 season of the Woods Hole Film Festival Winter Film Series Dinner & a Movie.
Offered at $25 per person, select from a preset menu served from 5:30 PM on with the screening starting at approximately 7:30 PM. Reservations are required by calling 508-548-8563 to reserve your table.
The movie takes place in Bahia, Brazil, where generations of impoverished families live in palafitas, a vast network of shacks built on stilts above a rising tide of garbage. When the government threatens to reclaim the area in the name of ecological restoration, hundreds of families are about to lose their homes.
Filmed over 6 years, “Bay of All Saints” is a lyrical portrait of three single-mothers living in the water slums during this crisis. Geni, a pizza parlor manager, rapidly becomes a community organizer; Jesus, a laundry-washer, starts to look beyond her dreams of a Prince Charming; Dona Maria, a trash-picker, once freed from domestic servitude, ventures outside the shanty town, or palafitas as they are known, as she raises her 16 children and grandchildren.
Their individual stories of poverty unfold through visits from Norato, their big-hearted refrigerator repairman, born and raised in the palafitas. He bears witness, as each family is promised a new home in governmental housing, without knowing when, or if this promise will be kept.
“Bay of All Saints” offers a glimpse at the complexities of urban poverty; the sacrifices these women make for their children’s survival and the demands of life on the Bay. Ultimately, the State’s urban development project—through its tumult and blunders—compels these women to rise up and fight for their future.
Filmmaker Annie Eastman first came to the water slums of Bahia, Brazil in 1999 to work with the grassroots arts and education organization GRUCON. She worked and resided in the neighborhood for 18-months, learned Portuguese, and co-directed a short documentary to support GRUCON’s work. She was struck by the views of extreme poverty and nearly doubled over by the stench of sewage in the air. As she walked along the bridges of the palafitas for the first time, she was struck again—no longer by the horrors, but by the grace and femininity she found within the shacks.
She soon realized that the majority of the homes belonged to single mothers. When she learned of the government’s plans to demolish these homes, she picked up a camera and set out to document the impact this urban-renewal project would ultimately have on the impoverished people it displaced. To see this project through, she made 12 additional trips to Brazil over the next 6 years. On production trips she slept in the palafitas, in the homes of the film’s characters, at first to spare hotel costs, and then because the people there became like family.
It was through the experience of working and living for 18-months in the palafitas that Ms. Eastman first explored the medium of film. She faced fears of walking around in one of the most notoriously dangerous parts of the city and began to learn some of the first lessons of observational filmmaking.
For a complete list of films screened as part of the Woods Hole Film Festival’s winter series, visit woodsholefilmfestival.org