Cris Lira: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how the idea for the Mostra: Brazilian Film Series has started.
Ariani Friedl: I am Brazilian, 'gaúcha' (RS), and I have been living in the United States for over 50 years. I worked at the University of Illinois @ Chicago for over 20 years as Director of the John Nuveen Center for International Affairs. I was a member of the Board of Directors of the International Latino Cultura Center for over 15 years and also organized the Chicago Latino Film Festival in 2006 when our Director was on a leave of absence. I have the fortune of meeting many of our Brazilian filmmakers who attended the Latino Festival which always brings 3 - 4 Brazilian films. The question always posed by our Brazilian filmmakers was: "How can we better publicize and where else can we show our Brazilian cinema in the United States?" The idea of creating a festival with only Brazilian films in the Chicago area was born from this and it developed with another idea of bringing films with social conscience to be discussed in universities and other cultural and educational centers.
C.L.: Could you please tell us how do you select the films to be featured in the series?
A.F.: I bring to our festival every year, different Brazilian film critics and filmmakers. I also have collaborators in SP who attend many of our film festivals in Brazil and help me collect a list of films with relevant social content, and also films related to our culture (art, music, literature, dance...), history, environment, etc... We compile these in a document with trailers and synopses and present them to my Curatorial Committee (composed of professors, critics, and experts in cinema) for a decision in which films we will invite to our festival.