Edmonton martial arts instructor Reni Lima Ferreira is the subject of the new short film There is more to Capoeira than you think.
Ferreira has been teaching the techniques and history of capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, to Edmonton residents since moving to the city 21 years ago.
The film examines the story and the true meaning behind the form that combines music, dance, acrobatics and martial arts.
Ferreira told CBC Edmonton AM was excited about the prospect of sharing capoeira’s story.
“It made me ashamed, but I was very happy and I am very happy that many of these people can see it right away because of the history of this art,” Ferreira said on Friday.
Capoeira was developed by African slaves in Brazil, initially as a form of recreational activity and later as a means of combat.
Brazil imported more slaves than any other country and was the last country to abolish slavery. Capoeira was the language of rebellion for these slaves.
“It simply came to our notice then [dance] aspect of it to hide it – it was just a game. it was just their music. “But when it comes time to fight for freedom, they use it as a martial arts,” said Edmonton-based director Sandro Silva.
Silva co-wrote, directed and produced the film for the CBC Creator Network, an initiative that works with a number of producers to enhance Canadian storytelling.
Silva is co-owner of Dona Ana Films & Multimedia and executive producer of the award-winning documentary 3 brothers.
He made capoeira the theme of the film in recognition of the Afro-Brazilians’ lack of awareness and culture.
“It is really rare to see Afro-Brazilians abroad,” he said. “When we see these special people like it [Ferreira] “Bringing our culture abroad is something unique and that is the main point.”
Capoeira remains committed to fighting oppression, as blacks continue to be discriminated against in Brazil and here in Canada, Silva said.
“We are still fighting oppression and that is the way to do it,” he said.
In the two decades since he left Brazil, Ferreira has improved the skills that glorify his culture. And it educates Canadians about what it means to be a member of the Afro-Brazilian community.
Silva and Ferreira hope that the film will promote this goal.
“These things, people don’t really know, and that’s why we bring these points to life to really educate people and educate ourselves,” Silva said.
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