Anyone who has been following the Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival for a while knows that there is no more versatile and prompt format to portray what happens in the world here and now than the short film.
Throughout these uninterrupted 30 years of accomplishment - which we celebrate this year with such worrying news for Brazilian culture - film and video have merged in the audiovisual format, while sound and video have increasingly overflowed the screen to engage the viewer in intense and immersive experiences.
Evolution has also ensured bigger representativeness in front of and behind the camera - which today has all sizes and is accessible to a much larger number of filmmakers. Many more women are directing shorts in Brazil and around the world, and black and indigenous people also have increasingly pointed out their imperative presence in the universe of moving images, as filmmakers, actors, actresses, and in all roles of production. Gender representation is firmly represented and if previously deserved specific showcases that aimed to pave the way for these voices, today they are fully integrated into the programming as a whole.
The evolution of technology not only happened on screen; we benefited greatly from it. When we started, selection was made with VHS tapes sent by mail from all parts of the world. Submissions arrived by letters and soon after came the fax machine, which allowed us to communicate more directly. While we previously screened almost all of the films we received, today we have access - thanks to the Internet and video streaming - to about 3,200 international short films submitted per year, 700 being Brazilian.
Technology alone, however, does not guarantee the quality of the programming we present every year in many film theaters throughout the city of São Paulo with free entrance. This requires the work of a team of more than 100 people, including curators, producers, assistants and technicians of all kinds. Everything is made possible thanks to our ties of partnership with companies and public policies, a trademark of the Festival throughout its existence.
Also, there is the greatest principle that has always guided our work: freedom. Freedom to come and go and attend some of the biggest festivals in the world, promoting exchanges and getting to know first hand the best films of the short format. And especially, freedom of choice, also guided by the freedom to carry out projects of all visions and shades.
The boundaries of art are increasingly blurred. Art that reveals to us beauty, that translates the other, that brings us closer to the human spirit. We count on filmmakers, partners and crew to continue our work and widen the boundaries of our screens, ensuring a space for meetings and exchanges that complements and humanizes everything that technology brings us in virtual terms.
May we celebrate encounters and art for many years to come!
Director of Sao Paulo's International Short Film Festival