News & Events

VML Speaker’s Series: Fire In The Archives: Tactical Pathways For Film Preservation In Brazil – January 19, 2022

On July 29, 2021, a fire ravaged the film storage of the Brazilian Cinemateca, in São Paulo, causing irreparable damage to the country’s memory and cultural history. According to many, however, that wasn’t a mere catastrophic incident. Other museal institutions in Brazil, such as the Museum of Portuguese Language and the National Museum, had recently met a similar fate. At that time, the Cinemateca itself had been kept empty and unmanaged by the Brazilian Federal Government for almost a year. Taken together, these situations indicate a criminal neglect with public institutions, demonstrating that challenges for film preservation encompass much more than material precarity. In Brazil, in particular, both the dismantling of cultural organizations and the erasure of national histories have been part of a long-term political program – a political program currently in power. How to deal with these surmounting threats for the future of audiovisual media? In this first panel of the Vulnerable Media Lab Speakers’ Series, specialists from different Brazilian institutions reflect upon the foretold tragedy of the Cinemateca and discuss tactical pathways for film preservation in adversarial conditions.

This event was held on January 19, 2022 over Zoom.