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A festival of "sweet and sour flavor, with spicy notes"

Between April 22nd and 25th, the Political Festival returns to Cinema São Jorge, with Borders as the central theme of this edition. We spoke with Bárbara Rosa and Rui Oliveira Marques, the creators, about the choice of the theme, the program and the news for this "sweet and sour flavor" festival.

If more reasons were lacking, the pandemic we are going through has brought the issue of borders into the debate. Will positive or negative things come from this?

Barbara Rose : The theme “Borders” was chosen keeping in mind the perspective of barriers they represent. The program proposes an incitement to reflection on the various walls – material and mental – that exist in institutional relations, between States and citizens, as well as in the interpersonal sphere. It is intended, once again, to contribute to the necessary fight against stigma and social discrimination, with a range that ranges from the realities of migrants to those of people with disabilities, including gender, racial, sexual orientation and even religious issues. . It is true that the pandemic had the general effect of creating a new perspective on the imposition of barriers, limited as we are to confinement in our homes and involuntary distancing from others. The programming also takes into account this new way of (over) living.

Anyone who consumes the Politics Festival knows that its flavor is bittersweet, with spicy notes. This edition will be no exception.

 

The main novelty of this edition is the attribution of scholarships to young artists, creators and activists, in the areas of literature, music, performing arts, plastic arts, video or training (workshop), whose works will be presented at the Festival. Does the idea of encouraging artistic creation also result from the impact of the pandemic on the cultural sector? Who are the winners and which works were selected for this project?

Barbara Rose : The main motivation behind the creation of the grants is timeless, as it aims to promote and support artistic creation and civic intervention by young artists, creators and activists residing in the country. The decision was made long before we imagined that we would end up immersed in this multidimensional calamity. The grants are supported by the Portuguese Youth and Sports Institute, which did not hesitate to support our idea.

The selection of two works (corresponding to the number of scholarships available) was not easy as we received several applications of high conceptual quality and from young people with very interesting curricula. The two winners are from the area of music and from different artistic universes.

Pedro Ruela Berga will present a mostly experimental showcase that leads the spectator to an inner dialogue of confrontation with himself and with the exterior/community, exploring the borders of various human dimensions. The multi-artist Puta da Silva will question us about the various borders (physical, social, political, institutional) that hinder or impede the naturalization, emancipation, socialization, autonomy and management of the lives of transsexual, transvestite and racialized immigrant transgender people. The show will be a virtual reality experience, through the use of VR glasses, providing an immersive experience in the reality portrayed by the artist.

 

This year's edition will be partially in person and partially online. Why this model, how is the schedule divided and what are the main highlights?

Rui Oliveira Marques : This year's edition has around 20 activities in four days. Most of the programming takes place at Cinema São Jorge. Artists are eager to meet the public again and the public, after a new confinement, also wants to return to enjoying culture in the room. Even so, we chose to transfer some activities to digital format so that they could be carried out. This is the case of the workshops that will take place online for the first time. We will have a session dedicated to citizen participation in democracy and another on creative writing based on the Encyclopedia of Migrants, a book that brings together 400 letters. This book will also give rise to the show "Foguete de Emergência", which we will present on April 25, at 11:00 am in São Jorge. The Face a Face with Deputies will also take place online, a meeting between citizens and deputies representing the parties elected to the Assembly of the Republic. Covid-19's contingencies do not allow us to carry out these activities in person, given the number of participants. In face-to-face activities, I highlight the show by the comedian Carlos Pereira about racism and human rights, the solo by André Murraças dedicated to the festival's theme, Fronteiras, and the show by Valério Romão and José Anjos “Men who are like invaded borders”, a reflection about the limits that the pandemic has imposed on us personally. These are shows created on purpose for the Festival Politics 2021. We also have a cinema schedule, with 18 films that reflect realities as different as the borders of the city of Lisbon to the social conflicts that cross Europe, such as the rise of nationalism and migrations.

Stimulating reflection and involving civil society in the exercise of citizenship and in the defense of human rights through culture is at the origin of the Political Festival. Is the inclusion of this festival in the Abril program in Lisbon, therefore, a happy marriage?

Rui Oliveira Marques : We believe so. For all festival participants, from the organization to artists, activists and citizens, it is very important to bring the reflection on April values to today and realize that the fight for freedom and rights is incomplete. We look at the city, at the country and at the world and realize that there is still a lot to be done.

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