Travessias Brazilian Film Festival 2020 [Online]

Screening online
Nov. 20–29

See the full festival with a pass!

    $35 NWFF Members
    $50 General

Visiting Artist

** Pre-recorded Q&As associated with each screening will be included in each corresponding event playlist. **


This festival of contemporary Brazilian films gives marginalized voices the mic in discussions of race, sexuality, and governance. The 2020 fest runs Nov. 20–29, with short films about the ebbs and flows of life, identity, and belonging and fierce features on topics from student civic engagement to unearthing family legacies to the ties that bind (and break) community.

Curated by scholar of Brazilian cinema Emanuella Leite and with support from Professor and Director of the Center for Brazilian Studies Jonathan Warren, Travessias Brazilian Film Festival takes place via Northwest Film Forum’s virtual cinema Nov. 20–29, 2020.

** Sponsored by Center for Global Studies at UW and co-presented with the Center for Brazilian Studies at UW, Show Brazil, Brazil Center, Somos Seattle, and Black Cinema Collective! **

A cinema in transit…

Cinema is an art that has survived the arrival of new communication platforms. It is the art of reinvention. In a pandemic context where people are experiencing – in a challenging way – isolation and alternative forms of interaction, movie theaters have adapted through virtual environments.

While we have to postpone the unique experience of watching a Brazilian film on the big screen in a cozy dark room at Northwest Film Forum, as was possible in our last edition of the Travessias Brazilian Film Festival, we can find another type of pleasure and contemplation in watching the new generation of Brazilian films in a bold virtual landscape.

For Travessias during this difficult year, we invite the global audience to immerse themselves in Brazilian films that center marginalized voices, celebrating intriguing protagonists who refuse to be silenced.

– Emanuella Leite & Jonathan Warren


Um cinema em trânsito…

O cinema é uma arte que tem sobrevivido à chegada de novas plataformas de comunicação. É a arte da reinvenção. Em um contexto pandêmico, em que as pessoas tem experimentado – de modo desafiador – o isolamento e formas alternativas de interação, as salas de cinema têm resistido exatamente por meio dos ambientes virtuais.

Enquanto temos que adiar a experiência única de assistir a um filme brasileiro em uma grande tela e em uma aconchegante sala escura do Northwest Film Forum, como foi possível na nossa edição passada do Travessias Brazilian Film Festival, podemos encontrar outro tipo de prazer e contemplação assistindo a nova geração de filmes brasileiros em uma ousada paisagem virtual.

Para o Travessias deste ano tão difícil, convidamos o público global a mergulhar em filmes brasileiros que trazem especialmente o protagonismo de minorias, visitando personagens intrigantes que recusam toda forma de silenciamento.

– Emanuella Leite e Jonathan Warren

Feature Film Program:

In The Heart of The World (No Coração do Mundo)

** Pre-recorded Q&A with with director Gabriel Martins accompanies this screening! **

(Gabriel Martins & Maurílio Martins, Brazil, 2019, 120 min.)

On the outskirts of Contagem, the scattered lives and side hustles of neighborhood residents collide in this complex portrait of blood relations and interpersonal bonds. Marcos seeks a way out of his routine of break-ins and petty crimes by taking on a risky opportunity that promises to solve all of his problems. As he enlists the help of his colleague Selma and girlfriend Ana to execute the plan, tensions begin to swell. Told through sweeping intimate takes with an enrapturing sound design, In the Heart of the World entrusts its female protagonists with the power of propulsion, their personal histories and allegiances shaping the film’s undercurrent.

Trailer >

“A sprawling feature by Gabriel and Maurílio Martins, In the Heart of the World offers a vivid depiction of a close-knit community in the city of Contagem, where the filmmakers are from. In this multi-character ensemble, the inhabitants of a poor neighborhood yearn for a better life: some get involved in crime, others just try and get by. Using a mix of professional and amateur actors, the directors create a kaleidoscopic, inventively photographed portrait of struggle, hope, and faith.” — Film at Lincoln Center

Your Turn (Espero Tua (Re)volta)

(Eliza Capai, Brazil, 2019, 93 min.)

When Brazil’s economic and social crisis deepened in the last decade, students protested and occupied hundreds of schools, demanding better public education and the end of austerity measures. The feature documentary Your Turn (Espero Tua (Re)volta) depicts the Brazilian student movement from the protests of 2013 until the election of the new president, Jair Bolsonaro, in 2018. Inspired by the collective voice of the movement itself, the documentary is narrated by three high school students, who represent central points of their struggle. The narrators’ jostling for space and time exposes the movement’s conflicts and demonstrates its complexity.

Trailer >

The Cotton Wool War (Guerra de Algodão)

** Pre-recorded Q&A with co-directors Claudio Marques and Marília Hughes accompanies this screening! **

(Marilia Hughes & Claudio Marques, Brazil, 2018, 82 min)

Dora arrives in Brazil to spend the summer with her grandmother, María, a complete stranger to her. But the connection between the teenager, raised in Germany, and her mother’s mother isn’t happening. María is cold, distant and peculiar, to say the least. Dora soon finds out that this is not just a visit; her mother wants them to stay in Brazil permanently. Frustrated with the news, Dora tries all sorts of ways to buy a plane ticket back to Europe. During her endeavors, she starts getting to know the city, makes new friends and—most importantly—uncovers the secrets behind her grandmother’s unique story and personality: that María was one of the pioneers of Brazilian cinema, an actress and performer ahead of her time. Dora keeps digging into Maria’s feminist background as she grows closer to her grandmother in this beautifully contained coming-of-age story. 

Description courtesy of Manuel Betancourt, Remezcla.

Named by Remezcla as a must-see Latin film!

Trailer >

Short Film Programs:


** Pre-recorded Q&A with with directors João Antonio Santucci and Ana Júlia Travia accompanies this screening! **

Short films that convey the struggle for Black Brazilians, pushed to the margins in mainstream narratives and historically excluded from opportunities like higher education, to carve out territories where they can claim a sense of place.

White Zombies

White Zombies

(João Antonio Santucci, Brazil, 2019, 12 min.)

White Zombies starts from the myth of the zombie (or undead) to present an experimental and autobiographical documentary about a black man inserted in a brave society.




(Ana Júlia Travia, Brazil, 2018, 15 min.)

The classic love story in which a young woman meets a young man, with the exception that they are Black and live in a city full of whitened memories.

“The beginning of Sample is striking and calls attention to the concrete, everyday, tearing racism that moves the tectonic plates of this country.” — Roberta Mathias, Apostila de Cinema 

How Many of Us Were to Be Here? (Quantos eram pra tá?)

How Many of Us Were to Be Here? (Quantos eram pra tá?)

(Vinícius Silva, Brazil, 2018, 29 min.)

We follow the daily lives of three young students at the University of São Paulo. They symbolize a first generation of Black students that, thanks to the government’s new education policy, are able to attend the best public universities in the countryplaces traditionally reserved for a white elite.

“[The] various questions raised throughout the film are conflicts that permeate the life of almost every young Black university student today…What the film does is to present a path: unity. How Many of Us Were to Be Here? makes it clear that…the way to obtain these answers can only be union, embrace, dialogue, affection.” — William Oliveira, Janela de Cinema

RIOS DA VIDA (Shorts Program)

** Pre-recorded Q&A with with Fernando Sousa, director of Keeping our loved ones alive (Nossos Mortos têm Voz), accompanies this screening! **

Black families of the Baixada Fluminense, threatened by a persistent state of police violence, protect one another’s spiritual healing and search for justice; a gender fluid child searches for acceptance among families who repeatedly return him to the adoption system.



(Everlane Moraes, Cuba & Brazil, 2018, 15 min.)

Aurora is a cinematic essay that starts from the premise: the theater as the stage of life, in which three women of different ages reinterpret their own conflicts on the stage of an abandoned theater.

Trailer >

“…a quiet meditation on the stages of life and their attendant glories, desires and disappointments through mostly silent portraits of three Black Cuban women of different ages. Carefully composed in high-contrast black and white, this intimate piece finds a poetic beauty in the passage of time.” — Sharon Mizota, LA Times

The Orphan (O Órfão)

The Orphan (O Órfão)

(Carolina Markowicz, Brazil, 2018, 15 min.)

Jonathas has been adopted, but it doesn’t take long until he is returned because he is “different” from the other kids. Inspired by true events.

Trailer >

The Orphan…explores the darker side of adoption, identity, and belonging. In the film, the titular orphan Jonathas is a young Brazilian boy who’s been adopted and returned multiple times. Now one of the older kids in the orphanage, Jonathas struggles with how he should act in order to be adopted — and accepted. Inspired by true events, Markowicz creates a vivid portrait of how one’s burgeoning sexuality can threaten the construction of a cis-family unit. With The Orphan, she crafts a fascinating expression of gender fluidity through stunning cinematography and natural performances.” — Jeffrey Bowers

“In making this film, I was hoping that people would be able to see themselves on both sides. I wanted to shine a light on what society expects from us, and how cruel those expectations can be to our own true nature. In Jonathas’ case, he’s apart from his biological family and he lacks the perspective of someone who accepts him as he is. My intention was to show struggles that anyone could face in seeking belonging and love, but at its highest level.” — Carolina Markowicz, Director

Keeping our loved ones alive (Nossos Mortos têm Voz)

Keeping our loved ones alive (Nossos Mortos têm Voz)

(Fernando Sousa & Gabriel Barbosa, Brazil, 2018, 28 min.)

This documentary addresses the struggle of families who have lost loved ones to state violence in the Baixada Fluminense, an impoverished region in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Using these tragic stories as a starting point, the film seeks to unravel the suffering of the mothers, whose pain is amplified with every victim’s death. They talk about these interrupted lives to preserve their memory and present a critical view of police actions in the Baixada Fluminense, especially in the context of violence against Black youth.

Trailer >



(Safira Moreira, Brazil, 2020, 5 min.)

A river and its affluents…

The filmmaker was among the artists and collectives invited by Instituto Moreira Salles (IMS) to develop projects during the quarantine as part of Programa Convida.

About Show Brazil

About Show Brazil

Show Brazil Productions is a family arts organization led by co-founders Brazilian-American immigrants Eduardo and Ana Paula Mendonça.  Visit for more info on their services, including high quality performing arts, education, event planning, production and management, as well as COVID-19 online learning resources.

About Brazil Center

About Brazil Center

Brazil Center seeks to serve a broad community of all ages and backgrounds offering opportunities for artists and organizations to establish connections developing cultural and educational experiences through music, dance, film, children activities, and exhibitions. Learn more at

About Black Cinema Collective

About Black Cinema Collective

Black Cinema Collective is a Seattle-based group of artists and scholars who examine and celebrate works of African and African diasporic filmmakers through programmed screenings, watch parties, and community discussions. With both a Black Feminist and Black Global lens, we hold space for the complex existence and storytelling inventions of Diasporans. We consider intersectional histories and topical stories by supporting multiple forms of filmmaking from local and global artists, activists, documentarians, and organizers. Through our focused events on Black film and visual productions, we exercise agency and care as custodians and students of a broader spectrum of Afro-Diasporic cultures.

About Somos Seattle

About Somos Seattle

Somos is an organization for LGBTQ Latinx folks. Their goal is to build an active community, share resources and foster spaces for learning & growth.

Somos es una organización para personas LGBTQ Latinas. Nuestra meta es crear comunidad, compartir recursos y promover el aprendizaje y desarrollo personal.

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