Get your culture on at SF Latino Film Festival


By Kim Harris, shades Magazine

If you are a fan of independent film projects, there is still time to catch a diversely creative mix of them at this year’s San Francisco Latino Film Festival.

Produced by Cine + Mas SF, the festival, which began last week, will run through Saturday with screenings throughout the Bay Area. To check out the schedule and buy tickets, visit the San Francisco Latino Film Festival website.

One of the festival’s featured films is “Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê,” a documentary film by Carolina Moraes-Liu. The film takes place in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, and follows three women competing to become Queen of Ilê Aiyê – a well-known and controversial all-black carnival group that honors and celebrates African culture through music, dance and community outreach. However, said. Moraes-Liu, Ilê Aiyê is more than just a carnival group.

“They have year-round social projects that help thousands of people in the neighborhood, aiming to propagate black culture, raise self-esteem and develop consciousness regarding racial discrimination issues,” Moraes-Liu said.

The group honors one Ebony Goddess based on Afro-centric beauty, mastery of African dance and the ability to inspire others. Moraes-Liu’s film tells the story of the growing pride in African culture and standards of beauty for black women in Bahia, including women embracing their heritage rather than changing how they look in order to appear whiter.

“There is still a huge portion of the black population that follows Euro-centric standards of beauty, straightening and coloring their hair so they look as white as possible,” Moraes-Liu said. “But there is also an ever-increasing number of black women who proudly display their black identity.”

“Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê” will be shown at the San Francisco Latino Film Festival’s closing night reception at 6 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 26. The film also is an “official selection” for the International Black Film Festival of Nashville and will premiere in Tennessee on Sept. 30. Additionally, The film will be shown at the International Black Women’s Film Festival at the Goldman theatre in Berkeley at noon on Oct. 9.

For more information on “Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê,” visit the film’s website.

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