A woman taxi driver in Afghanistan, workers who rescue animals trapped in the ice, a man who sells masks at Feira da Ladra in Lisbon, these are portraits of the good and sometimes bad practices and conditions in which those who work live.
The 19th edition of DOC Lisboa began yesterday, which this year presents, for the first time, the Safe and Healthy Workplaces Award, the result of a partnership with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, which, since 2009, has distinguished a film by labor theme.
Five of the nine films in competition for the 2021 Prize, will be represented by their directors and producers at the roundtable “Workers filming Workers”, which this afternoon at Culturgest will debate how different European cultural and labor policies and how they influence movies and the lives of those who make them.
Líder spoke with Miguel Ribeiro, who is part of the Board of DOC Lisboa, along with Joana Gusmão and Joana Sousa, and who spoke about the almost embryonic connection between cinema and work in the films in the competition. the delay in the approval of the cultural worker statute in Portugal
“Workers filming Workers” takes us to how the seventh art sees the world of work. What are the objectives of this project?
This conversation between directors and producers, who are nothing more than workers, comes within the scope of the partnership with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. In parallel to the selection of films on contemporary issues in the world of work, at the moment of debate on the intersection between cinema, as a tool to look at the world and work. After a year and a half of the Pandemic, in which so many people from the cultural sector work, and from cinema in particular, we decided to refer to those who film as workers, this idea that we are actually workers of culture – we are artists , but also workers.
Which films are in competition for the Safe and Healthy Workplaces Award?
The nine films in competition bring a great diversity of what the work is. Of the five films that will participate in the roundtable, the Portuguese film “Yonn”, which follows the life of a man who regularly travels by car from Lisbon to Dakar to pick up masks that he later sells at Feira da Ladra. From Spain, the film “Oh Dear Sara” portrays the first female taxi driver in Afghanistan who uses the issue of driving to empower other women in her community. The film “From the 84 Days”, by German direction and production, shows a group of Bolivian experimental musicians who sounded 84 days “trapped” in Germany, after being caught by the COVID-19 pandemic, when they went to Munich to give a concert . From Denmark comes the film “From the Wild Sea”, about workers in the Arctic who are dedicated to rescuing animals trapped in ice. And finally from Croatia, “Factory to Workers”, accompanied by one of the first placements of occupation of a factory by workers in the post-Yugoslavia moment.
What is a safe and healthy workplace?
The Prize is designed with the idea that the workplace should be safe and healthy, and cinema and its debates can help to think about films from that perspective. There is still an important discussion to be had in relation to what are the working conditions in various contexts and which together, before the debates, is promoted by the European Agency. This award has a continuity, as it serves as a material for effective work throughout Europe, with films being eliminated in each country and discussion being promoted through local places of workers and employers.
How does the seventh art look at work?
The relationship between cinema and work is seminal. The first images in the history of cinema show the workers leaving the factory, at the hands of the Lumière brothers. All cinema, and documentary cinema in particular, as it focuses on the world and its time, considers work to be a fundamental part of our lives.
And how do you look at the leaders?
Sara, a taxi driver in Afghanistan, is a leader. It is through this character that she helps her community to advance towards the emancipation of other women. Good practices lead us to more advanced forms of leadership, and leadership can have many faces, it can be individual or more collective figures. Cinema allows viewers to look with the eyes of those who arrive at that place and have the freedom to position ourselves in relation to what we see portrayed. Also the directors and producers are leaders as they have a responsibility for the way their films are produced.
How do different cultural and labor policies in Europe influence how films are made and the lives of those who make them?
Taking into account the way in which cinema is made, which is mostly publicly funded, it is inevitable to think that, in fact, many of the working conditions that exist in the way of making films have to do with labor, artistic and cultural policies. The collective will to promote better labor practices is very much dependent on what are the political possibilities to implement a series of good practices. In a European context, with several countries represented at this round table, we wanted to understand the difficulties and challenges of each of these contexts and share good examples.
And in Portugal, how is the state of the art?
The entry of the “culture worker” status is currently in the process of study and analysis. Cultural work takes on its own specificity, having a large unpaid component that has to do with research and freedom of thought until reaching the moment of production of a film. In France, the status of cultural worker has existed for some time and considers that when there is no production of work, the worker has a corresponding representation that was his production in the previous year, so that he can in the following year to create.
On stage since 2004, DOC Lisboa is today a reference in cinema festivals dedicated to documentaries, which over the next 11 days will screen 249 films in three spaces in the city of Lisbon.