Skype Interview with Carolina Moraes-Liu, Director of Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê

April 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

If you’ve ever visited Brazil, chances are you haven’t been to Salvador da Bahia, especially if you’re a tourist. It is the largest black city outside of Africa, yet until recently standards of beauty have been decidedly European. Carolina Moraes-Liu, a Bahia native, noticed an attitudinal change amongst black women when she returned home after several years, and – being the true documentary filmmaker that she is – decided to investigate further. The result is Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê, an ode to the beauty of black women, and a lively and realistic study of black identity and social change. The documentary follows three women competing to be Carnival Queen of the Ilê Aiyê, the Afro-Brazilian group that has been behind this positive shift in black consciousness and black female self-esteem. Featuring colorful African-style costumes and  Afro-Brazilian song and dance,

Carolina's award-winning film

the film still gives enough depth and meaning to all the social and racial challenges facing the city of Salvador da Bahia. It has been shown at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, and won the African Diaspora Award at the San Diego Black Film Festival last year. The documentary also won Best Short Documentary at San Diego’s Latino Film Festival. Moraes-Liu woke up bright and early on a late February day to do a Skype interview with Afrofusion, and she shared her experience working on the film in Bahia, her problems finding funding, and the strong spirit of the residents of the neighborhood of Curuzu, where most of the film was shot. Ebony Goddess is out on DVD, but you can still get to see it on a big screen; the film will be shown at the New York African Film Festival, at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, on April 7th and 9th 2011. It is also scheduled to come to DC later on in June, so keep a look out! Moraes-Liu is now working on a documentary about how traditional Brazilian societies are trying to preserve their ecosystem against encroaching urban development. For more information on the films of Carolina Moraes-Liu, visit her website here. Bless…

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