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USA, 2012, 74 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Medical/Health, Social Issues
Programs: Documentary, Spotlight on Colorado, Women + Film
DIRECTOR: Annie Eastman
Producer: Diane Markrow, Davis CoombeEditor: Annie EastmanCinematographer: Annie Eastman
In 2005, the World Bank approved $4.9 million in loans to Bahia, Brazil, to eliminate the city’s slums and relocate the residents of the palafitas, shacks built on stilts in the bay. The local government agreed to clean up the water and move the residents into subsidized housing. Seven years later, not a single unit had been built. Bay of All Saints director Annie Eastman (associate producer, They Killed Sister Dorothy, 2008) filmed the people of the palafitas for six of those years and documented their daily struggle in this heartrending film.
Her guide, Norato, a friendly refrigerator repairman, takes Eastman through the slum’s shacks and introduces her to three single mothers: Geni, the self-professed “mayor” of the palafitas, who works in a pizzeria for minimum wage; Dona Maria, a widowed trash picker who raised her 16 children and grandchildren in the slum’s squalor; and Jesus, a laundress who never gives up hope for a real home for her family, not one built over filthy seawater and mounting piles of garbage. Norato shows Eastman how the residents must steal electricity and water from the city grid and fight off rats and flooding to survive. When Geni decides to organize the residents of the palafitas to fight for their future, the others follow. While the government fails to make progress, many of the rotting wooden palafitas fall into the sea.
To make Bay of All Saints, Eastman traveled to Brazil 12 times. She slept in the homes of the film’s subjects, who became like family to her, and placed her trust in Norato for protection from the local drug dealers and street muggers.
In cooperation with US-Brazil Connect, Colorado Partners of the Americas
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