By Duncan Mlanjira
Famous Brazilian filmmaker Iara Lee is in the country to among others, film performing artist C.O.D.E. Sangala’s Music Against Malaria Cultural Festival set for Saturday, October 26 at College of Medicine Sports Complex Hall in Blantyre from 6pm to midnight in aid of the children’s ward at Chikwawa District Hospital.
Sangala said Lee contacted him after she saw a poster on social media of the festival and the online appeal to well wishers for funding for their charity work in aid of pediatric wards, first for Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and now for Chikwawa District Hospital.
“Iara is very interested in such cultural festivals and she kindly asked that she had always wanted to come to Malawi to produce documentaries and this was the right opportunity for her.
“We are looking forward to her participation because her documentary will definitely market our charity NGO, Music Against Malaria, as well as Malawi’s tourism industry.
“We are truly honored to have this amazing Brazilian film maker to document our festival. She has also donated US$5,000, making our total to K9 million of the targeted K19 million.
“We are fully prepared and excited to have some of the coolest authentic Malawian musicians such as Lusubilo Band all the way from Karonga, Madalisto Band who just returned from their European tour, Kasambwe Brothers Band from Ndirande and Chichiri Cultural Heritage.
“We also bring a collection of musicians who have performed at Jacaranda Cultural Center’s Sounds of Malawi showcase. I will, of course, perform with my band The Tribe,” C.O. said.
According to Wikipedia, Iara Lee is a Brazilian film producer, director and activist of Korean descent who works mainly in the Middle East and Africa.
Her most recent project is a series of two documentaries about Burkina Faso (Burkinabe Rising: The Art of Resistance in Burkina Faso) one about creative resistance in the landlocked African country and another about resistance to corporate agriculture in the country (Burkinabè Bounty: Agroecology in Burkina Faso), both released in 2018.
Her other documentaries include Life Is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara (2015); K2 and the Invisible Footmen (2015), The Kalasha and the Crescent (2013); The Suffering Grasses (2012), Cultures of Resistance (2010); Beneath the Borqa in Afghanistan (2002); Architettura (1999); Modulations: Cinema for the Ear (1998); Synthesis Pleasures (1995) and An Autumn Wind (1994).
In 2010, Lee was involved in the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla”, where nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed by Israel naval forces and many were injured.
Lee is the founder of the Cultures of Resistance Network Foundation (formerly named the Caipirinha Foundation) and a longtime supporter of Greenpeace International, Amnesty International, Centre for Constitutional Rights, Committee to Protect Journalists and Doctors Without Borders among many other organizations.
In 2008, Lee lived in Iran and supported a number of cultural exchange projects between that country and the West, with the goal of promoting arts and culture for global solidarity.
Lee has also actively supported indigenous and civil society campaigns to prevent the construction of the Belo Monte mega-dam on the Xingu River, a major tributary of the Amazon in Brazil.
According to the California-based nonprofit International Rivers, the dam project threatened to displace over 20,000 people, destroy an extensive area of the Brazilian rainforest, and endanger indigenous tribes that depend on the river for their survival.
In 2009, Lee released a short film about the dam controversy, Battle for the Xingu, in conjunction with groups such as International Rivers.