a limit situation

Image_Marcio Costa
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Manifesto in defense of the Brazilian Cinematheque

The Cinemateca Brasileira, the largest film archive in the country, whose trajectory is internationally recognized, is facing an extreme situation. In mid-May, it had still not received any portion of the annual budget, which amounts to around R$ 12 million.

After suffering an intervention by the Ministry of Culture in 2013, which dismissed its board and removed its operational autonomy, it has been facing a continuous process of institutional weakening that culminates in the current threat of total paralysis.

The Cinemateca has in its custody the largest audiovisual collection in South America, whose preservation demands permanent care from specialized technicians and maintenance of strict conservation parameters in low temperature and relative humidity.

Public and private collections that constitute the country's audiovisual memory are under its custody. In addition to their intrinsic cultural value, the works of national producers add economic value; are a source of industrial income that maintains the dynamics of the sector. The threat hanging over the Cinematheque is not just the destruction of symbolic values, but also tangible values.

The Federal Government's contract with the Social Organization that manages it – Associação de Comunicação Educativa Roquete Pinto (ACERP) – was terminated at the initiative of MEC. The current Special Secretariat for Culture, responsible for the Cinematheque, has its administrative ties divided between the Ministries of Citizenship and Tourism.

This schizophrenic situation makes it difficult for the government to act with the necessary urgency to prevent the Cinemateca's bankruptcy, while the public administration is dedicated to designing a long-term solution. If the Cinemateca's budget is not immediately passed on to ACERP, ensuring the maintenance of the minimum number of contractors and the physical conservation conditions, there will be no need for a respite, as we will have already reached the final solution.

The indifference of the Audiovisual Secretariat of the extinct Ministry of Culture towards the Cinematheque led to the February 2016 fire – the fourth suffered by the institution in its history – in which a thousand rolls of old films were definitively lost, a fact that at the time was relegated by the authorities, who did not take any measures to repair or prevent further accidents.

In February of this year, the Cinemateca facilities in Vila Leopoldina (São Paulo), which housed part of the collection, were affected by a flood. Once again, the Audiovisual Secretariat abstained from its responsibilities, did not clarify eventual losses, nor adopted measures to protect endangered collections.

If indifference to the future of Brazilian audiovisual heritage persists, the consequences will be even more serious. Without the care of technicians and conservation conditions, the entire collection will deteriorate irreversibly.

In that case, when help arrives from Brasilia, the images of our past will have become specters of our bankruptcy as a nation.

São Paulo, 15 May 2020

They sign:

LYGIA FAGUNDES TELLES, former president of the Board of Cinemateca Brasileira
ISMAIL XAVIER, former chairman of the Board of Cinemateca
CARLOS AUGUSTO CALIL, former executive director of Cinemateca, former Municipal Secretary of Culture of São Paulo
RICARDO OHTAKE, former executive director of Cinemateca, former Secretary of Culture of the State of São Paulo
DORA MOURÃO, former member of the Board, former president of CILECT – The International Association of Film and Television Schools
UGO GIORGETTI, former member of the Council of the Cinematheque
JOÃO BATISTA DE ANDRADE, former member of the Council of Cinemateca, former Secretary of Culture of the State of São Paulo
MARCELO ARAÚJO, former member of the Council of Cinemateca, former Secretary of Culture of the State of São Paulo
EDUARDO MORETTIN, former member of the Board of Cinemateca
SÉRGIO MUNIZ, former member of the Board of Cinemateca
WALTER SALLES, former member of the Board of the Cinematheque
JEAN-CLAUDE BERNARDET, actor, filmmaker, critic, professor, former member of the Council of the Cinematheque
APACI – Paulista Association of Filmmakers
ABRACI – Brazilian Association of Filmmakers
ABC – Brazilian Association of Cinematography – MARCELO TROTTA, president
API – Association of Independent Producers
ABPA - Brazilian Preservation Association
ABRACCINE – Brazilian Association of Film Critics
FÓRUM DOS FESTIVAIS – National Forum of Film Festival Organizers – ANTONIO LEAL, president
FORCINE – Brazilian Forum for Film and Audiovisual Education – ALESSANDRA MELEIRO, president
Documentary Festival IT'S ALL TRUE – AMIR LABAKI, director
FIAF – International Federation of Film Archives – CHRISTOPHE DUPIN, on behalf of the Executive Committee
Cinémathèque Française – COSTA-GRAVAS, president
Institut Lumière – THIERRY FREMAUX, director
Cinematheque of the Museum of Modern Art – Rio de Janeiro
RICARDO COTA, curator
HERNANI HEFFNER, Chief Conservator
National Cineteca de Chile – MÓNICA VILLARROEL, director
Cinemateca Portuguesa – Museum of Cinema – TIAGO BATISTA, director of the conservation center
DAVID OUBIÑA, professor at the University of Buenos Aires – CONICET
JACK LANG, former Minister of Culture of France, Director of the Arab World Institute, Paris
JAMES GREEN, professor at Brown University
JEAN-LOUIS COMOLLI, critic and professor
LEYLA PERRONE-MOISÉS, emeritus professor at FFLCH-USP
LUIS PÉREZ-ORAMAS, curator and art historian
NÉSTOR GARCIA CANCLINI, distinguished professor-researcher at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and researcher emeritus of National System of Investigators of Mexico
RAÚL ANTELO, professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)
RENATO JANINE RIBEIRO, full professor at the University of São Paulo
ROBERTO SCHWARZ, retired professor at the State University of Campinas and writer
SILVIANO SANTIAGO, professor at the Fluminense Federal University and writer
WALNICE NOGUEIRA GALVÃO, emeritus professor at FFLCH-USP
JOSÉ SERRA, senator
HUMBERTO COSTA, senator
Professors at CTR – Department of Cinema, Television and Radio / University of São Paulo
ALMIR ALMAS
ESTHER HAMBURGER
RUBENS REWALD
PATRICIA MORAN
GILSON SCHWARTZ
LUIS FERNANDO ANGERAMI
CECILIA MELLO
JOÃO GODOY
FERNANDO SCAVONE
MATEUS ARAÚJO
ARLINDO MACHADO
ROBERTO MOREIRA
LUIS DANTAS
HENRI GERVAISEAU
THIAGO ANDRÉ
EDUARDO VICENTE
CRISTIAN BORGES
EDUARDO SANTOS MENDES
JOÃO PAULO AMARAL SCHLITTLER SILVA
RUBENS MACHADO JUNIOR

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