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22/11/2016 - 16:02hs

Movie portrays Arabs in Foz do Iguaçu

Documentary tells the stories of immigrants and their integration into the city’s daily life. The project is from the Arab Charity Society and has other productions in other cities in the plans.

São Paulo – Arab immigration in Foz do Iguaçu, a Paraná state city that shares borders with Argentina and Paraguay, is the topic of a documentary launched last week in the city. Arabs in Paraná – Foz do Iguaçu tells the stories of immigrants and their descendants and also portrays how they have integrated into the city’s daily life.

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Among the storylines portrayed by the movie are the son of one of the first immigrants, a man who arrived with only 15 dollars in his pocket, the Arab Union Club, where Shiites, Sunnis, Orthodox Christians and others socialize together, and a school that teaches Arabic, English and Portuguese.

“We want to show Arab immigration in Paraná and we started with Foz do Iguaçu,” says Vera Haj Mussi Augusto, coordinator and cultural director of the Ladies Council of the Arab Charity Society (Saben). The Council was the one leading the project of the documentary.

Vera, who is a History teacher and former Paraná state secretary of Culture, is a member of the council, which promotes philanthropy. But the group wanted to expand the activities and decided to turn to culture also. “History is very important; once you know your roots, that has an influence in many things,” the director told ANBA.

The purpose of the production, in addition to portraying the Arab integration in Foz, is to bring to the forefront the topic of immigration, currently a very controversial topic. The fact that Arab immigration in the state dates back around 140 years, influenced how they broached the subject. Arabs arrived in Foz in the 1950s, according to Vera.

The documentary was launched on November 17 at Hotel Bourbon de Foz, which also supported the initiative. The director says that many people cried while watching the movie. “They saw their own stories in those people,” says Vera.

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Pre-production of the documentary, with the search for sponsors and the writing, started last year. With direction and screenplay by filmmaker Lu Rufalco, the movie was completed in the middle of this year. The documentary was sponsored by Itaipu Nacional and had the support of Foz do Iguaçu City Hall, Foz do Iguaçu Cultural Foundation and Hotel Bourbon.

The movie was distributed to schools and organizations and can also be watched on Saben’s website. No festivals or movie theater screenings have been planned yet. Vera believes it could be broadcasted by a TV channel.

The council expects to produce other documentaries on Arab immigration in Paraná. The next movies should portray the Arab presence in Curitiba and Paranaguá, two other cities with a strong immigration, and later the idea is to focus in the regions of the state.

The movie runs twenty minutes long. The crew had Tania Silva as executive producer, Samira Omaire as local production, Paulo Rigotti Junior as photographer and camera, Farpa Gomes as editor, Berenice Mendes as writer, Rafael Camargo as voice-over, audio by Andrés Carvajal Proano and Ilson Alecrin and archive footage by Vision Arts Productions.


*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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