11 May Mala Mala and Favela Gay

IberoDocs brings to Scotland ‘Favela Gay’ and ‘Mala mala’, two documentaries that claim individual freedom

by Eva Yera

Two months after a successful British premiere in FLARELondon’s LGBT Film Festival, ’Mala mala’ comes to Scotland on the 17th of May, screening at the Edinburgh Filmhouse. The documentary is a defense of individualism understood as the freedom of all individuals to build their own identity. Unashamed, uncensored and unquestioned by society.

Mala Mala and Favela Gay1

To spread the message, ‘Mala mala’ directors, Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini, have followed -and filmed- the footsteps of nine transvestites, not only from an artistic point of view, but from the one related to personal identity. In the film, they are able to express themselves naturally, showing both their personalities and identities without justifying.

The documentary is filmed in Puerto Rico, a territory that is slowly moving forward towards the recognition of LGBT rights, but still strongly influenced by the guidelines of the US conservative politics and the Catholic church.

The Puerto Rican government has announced that they will not longer support Article 68 of their Civil Code -where marriage is limited to men and women and has raised a formal plea to the First Circuit of Boston to turn this law into unconstitutional.

To mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the screening will be preceded by the short film “High Heels Aren’t Compulsory” by local filmmaker Annabel Cooper followed by a special performance by Jo Clifford and the night will finish with the festival’s Closing Party in Edinburgh.

Mala Mala and Favela Gay2

Moving from Puerto Rico to Brazil, a country where justice gave the go-ahead to gay marriage in May 2013, but which Parliament has not done it yet officially. “Favela Gay” will be screening at CCA Glasgow on the 23rd of May. The film is a very interesting audiovisual proposal about homosexuality and social classes in an emerging global power where the cultural and social contrasts are one of the biggest concerns.

Rodrigo Felha’s documentary shows the daily lives of the main characters, marked by this dual status. But far from a strictly social approach, Felha chose a colorful and celebratory vision, always accompanied and contrasted by the reality of their protagonists.

In the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, far from what it may seem, they are accepted by the community and they’ve found a place where they can express themselves freely through music, sports and dance. But there are still walls that need to be taken down.

A necessary feature and celebration in a complicated moment, when European Court of Justice has moved back justifying the fact of banning male homosexuals from blood donation.