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Afro-Latin American Film Resources

Introduction

During the summer of 2020, the Cinegogía research team initiated the development of this teaching resource focused on the representation of Afro-descendants as portrayed through Latin American cinema and the cultural production of Black media makers in the region. To date, we have added more than 90 Afro-Latin American films to the database, and expanded our thematic tags and subject headings to help users search for films that focus on the diverse and shared experiences of Afro-descendants throughout Latin America. In addition, our research team has created an annotated bibliography of publications by experts in the field that will be useful for educators who are interested in learning more about race, racism, the representation of Afro-descendants, the cultural legacy of the African diaspora in Latin America, and the perspective of Afro-Latin Americans --- through the lens of cinema. Finally, we have provided a curated list of links to online resources related to these topics for further exploration. We recognize that this module is not an exhaustive collection of films and publications, but rather a starting point for educators who are looking to deepen their understanding of the Afro-Latin American experience as represented through film. We welcome your suggestions for additional films, academic publications and other resources related to Afro-Latin American Film & Media. Please send any questions, suggestions or feedback to our team at: cinegogia@gmail.com


Video presentation by Cinegogía research assistants, Bethania Jimenez and Sarah Shorter, about the development of the Afro-Latin American Film Resources module during the summer of 2020. 


Search Terms (Subject Headings & Tags)

One of the most important elements of a useful database is the selection and accurate deployment of broad subject headings and precise tags that can identify thematic foci of interest to the user. Our examination of approved Library of Congress (LC) Subject Terms, author-supplied keywords, terminology employed in the field of Afro-Latin American Studies, and Spanish-language equivalents revealed a wide variation of subject headings and topics used, currently and historically, to refer to the experiences of Afro-descendants in Latin American cinema. For the purposes of our bilingual film database, we decided on the following broad subject heading. Clicking on the link below will provide the most up-to-date results of related film titles in our database: 

We also added the following tags to more precisely identify sub-collections of films within the broader subject of “Afro-Latin American” cinema. Users can explore these collections through the Tags resource

If you are conducting further research on these topics beyond Cinegogía, you may also find the following search terms helpful: 

Annotated Bibliography of Afro-Latin American Film Resources

Download the complete annotated bibliography by clicking here for printer-friendly PDF
Published: January 22, 2022

Afro-Latin American Studies

Andrews, George Reid. Afro-Latin America: Black Lives, 1600-2000. Harvard University Press, 2016.  

De la Fuente, Alejandro and George Reid Andrews, eds. “The Making of a Field: Afro-Latin American Studies.” Afro-Latin American Studies: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2018, pp. 1-24. 

Higgins, Shana M. “Afro-Latinos: An Annotated Guide for Collection Building.” Reference & User Services Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 1, 2007, pp. 10–15.

Wade, Peter. "Afro-Latin Studies: Reflections on the Field." Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, April 2006, pp. 105–124.

—. Race and Ethnicity in Latin America. 1997. 2nd ed., Pluto Press, 2010.

Afro-Latin American History and Cultural Legacies

Cohen, Theodore W. Finding Afro-Mexico: Race and Nation After the Revolution. Cambridge University Press, 2021. 

Demuro, Eugenia. “Acculturation or Transculturation? The Invisibility of Afro-Argentines in the ‘White’ Nation.” Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 545–559, doi:10.1080/07256868.2017.1363168.

Ruggiero,  ​​Diana M. “Más Allá Del Fútbol’: Teaching Highland Afro-Ecuadorian Culture and Engaging Race and Racism through Documentary Film.” Hispania, vol. 98, no. 3, Sept. 2015, pp. 594–606. 

Villegas Rogers, Carmen. “Improving the Visibility of Afro-Latin Culture in the Spanish Classroom.” Hispania, vol. 89, no, 3, 2006, pp. 562-73.

Walton, Mesi. “Afro-Venezuelan Cultural Survival: Invoking Ancestral Memory.” Middle Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies, vol. 4, no. 2, Dec. 2020, pp. 235–260, doi:10.23870/marlas.346.

Watson, Sonja. “Teaching Afro-Latin American Culture through Film: Raíces de mi corazón and Cuba's Guerrita de los Negros.” Hispania, vol. 96, no. 1, 2013, pp. 71–80.

Afro-Descendant Representation & Race in Latin American Cinema 

Aguilera Skvirsky, Salomé. “Las cargas de la representación: Notas sobre la raza y la representación en el cine latinoamericano.” Hispanófila, vol. 177, no. 1, 2016, pp. 137-154.

Davis, Darién J. “Fading In: Race and the Representation of Peoples of African Descent in Latin American Cinema.” Beyond Slavery: The Multilayered Legacy of Africans in Latin America and the Caribbean, edited by Darién J. Davis, Rowman and Littlefield, 2006, pp. 249-65.

Dixon, Kwame. “Afro-Cinema in Latin America: A New Cultural Renaissance.” E-misférica, vol. 5, no. 2, December 2008, https://hemi.nyu.edu/eng/publications/emisferica/5.2/en52_dixon.html.

Valdés, Vanessa K. “Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latinx Cinema.” Special Issue of PALARA (Publication of the Afro-Latin/American Research Association), vol. 23, Fall 2019, pp. v, doi:10.32855/palara.2019.23.

Black Identity in 21st Century Latin American Feature Films

Bacsán, Gabriela. “Reflections of Nonnormativity: Photography, Childhood, and Belonging in Mariana Rondón’s Pelo Malo.” Latin American Perspectives, vol. 48, no. 2, Mar. 2021, pp. 93–107.  

Bailey, Ebony M. “Coding of Blackness in Mexican Cinema: An analysis of La Negrada.” PALARA (Publication of the Afro-Latin/American Research Association), vol. 23, Fall 2019, pp. 1-9.  

Farrell, Michelle Leigh. “Pelo malo: Representing Symbolic Violence in the Intricacies of Venezuela’s Contemporary Film Landscape.” Cincinnati Romance Review, vol. 42, Spring 2017, pp. 190-210. 

Gillam, Reighan. “All Tangled Up: Intersecting Stigmas of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Mariana Rondón’s Bad Hair.” Black Camera, vol. 9, no. 1, Fall 2017, pp. 47-61. 

Rocha, Carolina. “Debilitamiento biopolítico: afrocolombianos en Manos sucias.” Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research, vol. 26, no. 1, 2014, pp. 54-68, doi:10.1080/13260219.2020.1781922.

Female Afro-Latin American Voices in Contemporary Film

Asher, Kiran. “Texts in Context: Afro-Colombian Women’s Activism in the Pacific Lowlands of Colombia.” Feminist Review, no. 78, Jan. 2004, pp. 38–55.

Benson, Devyn Spence. “Sara Gómez: Afrocubana (Afro-Cuban Women's) Activism after 1961.” Cuban Studies, vol. 46, 2018, pp. 134-158. 

Gillam, Reighan. “Representing Black Girlhood in Brazil: Culture and Strategies of Empowerment.” Communication, Culture and Critique, vol. 10, no. 4, 1 December 2017, pp.  609–625, doi:10.1111/cccr.12176.

González, Flora. “Speaking from Historical Silences: Gloria Rolando’s 1912: Voces Para Un Silencio / Breaking the Silence.” Afro-Hispanic Review, vol. 36, no. 2, Fall 2017, pp. 81–94.

Ohmer, Sarah. "Afro-Latin American Documentary Resistance from the Pacific Coast: How Voces de Resistencia (2017) Changes the Landscapes of Aesthetics, Academia/Community Collaboration, and Black Feminist Activism During the Colombian 'Peace Process'." PALARA (Publication of the Afro-Latin/American Research Association), vol. 23, Fall 2019, pp. 49-59.

National Media Contexts & Afro-Descendant Representation

BRAZIL / BRASIL

Carter, Eli L. “Silence behind the ‘Talk of Crime’: Representations of Violence in a Sample of Contemporary Brazilian Films and Television Series.” A Contracorriente: A Journal of Social History and Literature in Latin America, vol. 15, no. 1, 2017, pp. 79–102. 

Da Silva, Paulo V. B. “Racial Inequalities in the Symbolic Realm: The Brazilian Context.” Canadian Journal of Development Studies, vol. 29, no. 3/4, Mar. 2010, pp. 259–279, doi:10.1080/02255189.2010.9669258.

Dennison, Stephanie, “Afro-Brazilian Filmmaking in the Twenty-First Century” in Remapping Brazilian Film Culture in the 21st Century, Routledge, 2020, pp. 93-109. 

Ferreira, Ceiça. “Corpos e Territórios Negros: Representações Da Religiosidade Afro-Brasileira No Documentário Orí (1989).” Cuadernos de Música, Artes Visuales y Artes Escénicas, vol. 15, no. 1, Jan. 2020, p. 94-111, doi:10.11144/javeriana.mavae15-1.cetn

Gilliam, Reighan.“The Help, Unscripted: Constructing the Black Revolutionary Domestic in Afro-Brazilian Media.” Feminist Media Studies, vol. 16, no.6, 2016, pp. 1043-1056, doi:10.1080/14680777.2015.1137338.

—. Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media. University of Illinois Press, 2022. 

Oliveira, Janaína. "With the Alma no Olho: Notes on Contemporary Black Cinema." Film Quarterly, vol. 74, no. 2, Winter 2020, pp. 32–38, doi: 10.1525/fq.2020.74.2.32.

Signorelli Heise, Tatiana. Remaking Brazil: Contested National Identities in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema. University of Wales Press, 2012.

Stam, Robert. Tropical Multiculturalism: A Comparative History of Race in Brazilian Cinema and Culture. Duke University Press, 1997.

COLOMBIA

Adorno, Natalie. “La identidad afrodescendiente dentro del cine colombiano.” Cinémas D'Amérique Latine, no. 21, 2013, pp. 110–121. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/42598510

CUBA

Ebrahim, Haseenah. “Sarita and the Revolution: Race and Cuban Cinema.” European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, no. 82, 2007, pp. 107-118.

Jiménez Murguía, Salvador, Amanda McMenamin, and Sean O'Reilly, eds. A Cuban Cinema Companion. Rowman & Littlefield, 2020. 

Kaisary, Philip. “Black Agency and Aesthetic Innovation in Sergio Giral’s El otro Francisco.” PALARA (Publication of the Afro-Latin/American Research Association), vol. 23, Fall 2019, pp. 22-32.

Martínez-Echazábal, Lourdes. “The Politics of Afro-Cuban Religion in Contemporary Cuban Cinema.” Afro-Hispanic Review, vol. 13, no. 1, 1994, pp. 16–22.

HAITI

Antonin, Arnold. “Cinema in Haiti.” Small Axe, vol. 12, no. 3, Nov. 2008, pp. 87–93. 

Kaisary, Philip. “The Haitian Revolution and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s La última cena.Racialized Visions: Haiti and the Hispanic Caribbean, edited by Vanessa K. Valdés, SUNY Press, 2020.

MEXICO

Afrodescendencias hoy. Edited by Rosa Claudia Lora Krstulovic and Rodolfo Martínez Martínez. Special issue of Ichan Tecolotl, año 32, no. 348, mayo 2021, https://ichan.ciesas.edu.mx/afros/.

Chew, Selfa A. “Representations of Black Womanhood in Mexico.” Studies in Latin American Popular Culture, vol. 36, 2018, pp. 108–127, doi:10.7560/SLAPC3607.

PERU

Mosquera Rosada, Ana Lucía. “Marca Peru: Representations and Exclusions of the Afro-Descendant Population from the Official Narrative of the Peruvian Government,” PALARA (Publication of the Afro-Latin/American Research Association), vol. 23, Fall 2019, pp. 42-48, doi:10.32855/palara.2019.005.   

Academic Journals 

Afro-Hispanic Review: academic journal of Afro-Hispanic literature and culture, published by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The journal’s mission is to promote the study of Afro-Hispanic literature and culture, and they welcome essays on topics pertaining to the black experience. Afro-Hispanic Review features articles on literary criticism, music, religion, history, politics, anthropology, art or any other area of inquiry.

Afro-Latin America book series: This Cambridge University Press series reflects the coming of age of the new, multidisciplinary field of Afro-Latin American studies, which centers on the histories, cultures, and experiences of people of African descent in Latin America. The series aims to showcase scholarship produced by different disciplines, including history, political science, sociology, ethnomusicology, anthropology, religious studies, art, law, and cultural studies. It covers the full temporal span of the African Diaspora in Latin America, from the early colonial period to the present and includes continental Latin America, the Caribbean, and other key areas in the region where Africans and their descendants have made a significant impact.

PALARA (Publication of the Afro-Latin/American Research Association): multi-disciplinary journal that publishes research and creative works relevant to African Diaspora Studies in the Americas. The official research journal of the Afro-Latin/American Research Association, currently, PALARA is a partnership between the University of Texas at Arlington and Mount Holyoke College. 

Afro-Latin American Media & Digital Platforms

Afro-Flix: uma plataforma colaborativa que disponibiliza conteúdos audiovisuais online com uma condição: aqui no AFROFLIX você encontra produções com, pelo menos, uma área de atuação técnica/artística assinada por uma pessoa negra. São filmes, séries, web séries, programas diversos, vlogs e clipes que são produzidos OU escritos OU dirigidos OU protagonizados por pessoas negras.

Cardumen Lab: proyecto de creación, producción y promoción artística con enfoque antirracista, colaborativo, y transdisciplinario que trabaja temas relacionados con la afrodescendencia en México. Uno de los ejes principales del laboratorio es la visibilización Afro que consiste en el trabajo audiovisual, artístico diverso y a nivel de incidencias, para visibilizar temáticas relacionadas a la negritud y afrodescendencia.

Centro Afro Carioca de Cinema: Centro Afro Carioca de Cinema tem por finalidade a promoção da cultura afro brasileira e de seus artistas, além de elaborar projetos e ações que visem a realização permanente de atividades culturais. Seu foco é a valorização da produção cinematográfica brasileira, africana e caribenha como um ato social de transmissão de sabedoria, formação técnica e artística,  profissionalização e a inclusão no mercado de trabalho. Situado no coração da Lapa no Rio de Janeiro, o Centro Afro Carioca de Cinema, realiza oficinas, debates, seminários, mostra de filmes nacionais e internacionais, lançamentos de livros, buscando abrir novos caminhos a partir de um olhar contemporâneo onde o resgate histórico é feito através do Negro como sujeito da ação, percebendo a diversidade da Cultura Brasileira e a importância da oralidade da cultura africana.

Cimarrón Producciones: Semestralmente Cimarrón Producciones invita a colectivas artísticas y culturales a encontrarnos en un diálogo sobre procesos de autorepresentación de la gente afrolatinoamericana en las artes, especialmente en el cine. El “Cine orgánico" es la apuesta audiovisual que comprende varias formas de creación, el cine que trabaja sobre las personas, el territorio y la relación de estos dos. Las comunidades afro diaspóricas tienen maneras especiales de relacionarse con la tierra, con la música y los sujetos, en ese sentido un cine orgánico propone una nueva visión y representación del cine afro, comprendiendo también otras formas de co-crear el audiovisual. 

Preta Portê Filmes: founded in 2009 in São Paulo, Brazil, by Juliana Vicente with the objective of developing and producing audiovisual projects that combine art and communication for a diversified market. Preta Portê Filmes has produced fiction films, documentaries, TV programs and videoclips featuring Afro-Brazilian protagonists. 

Additional Digital Resources 

African Film: Film distributor (ArtMattan Productions) centered on the human experience of people of color all over the world with a special focus on Africa, the Caribbean, North and South America and Europe. Films in this catalog are shown during the annual African Diaspora International Film Festival. Collections are grouped by region (Latin America, Caribbean), theme (human rights), film category (documentary), language (Spanish, Portuguese, English)

AfroCuba Web: website dedicated to resources related to Afro-Cuban culture, arts, history, music, literature, films, important figures, and news. 

Afro-Descendants: A Global Picture: Published by Minority Rights Group International, this digital platform brings the stories of minority and indigenous groups into focus by offering in-depth multi-media story packs covering important topics. This story pack, with a module specifically about Afro-Descendants in the Americas, marks the The International Decade for People of African Descent, officially launched by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.

Afro-Latin/American Research Association: Organization of scholars working in the international, interdisciplinary, inter-ethnic, and comparative field of Afro-Latin American Studies. Membership consists primarily of college/university professors trained in Latin American studies (literature, linguistics, sociology, political science, cultural studies, communication studies, history) whose research and/or teaching interests focus on cultural production and materiality of Africa descendants in North, Central and South America, the Caribbean basin and Equatorial Guinea (West Africa). PALARA is the official research journal of the organization.

ALARI (Afro-Latin American Research Institute)The Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University is the first research institution in the United States devoted to the history and culture of peoples of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean. ALARI stimulates and sponsors scholarship on the Afro-Latin American experience and provides a forum where scholars, intellectuals, activists and policy makers engage in exchanges and debates.

LAPORA (Latin American Anti-racism in a 'Post-Racial' Age): Research project based at the University of Cambridge's Department of Sociology (UK) that investigates anti-racist practices and ideologies in Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. The website provides information about the LAPORA team, research cases, resources and events in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The project contributes to understand the growing interest in addressing problems of racism and racial inequality in Latin America. 

Other Films

Given Cinegogía's project scope, we have made the distinction between films about the Black experience directed by Latin American versus non-Latin American filmmakers. Although we focus on the former in our database, here are some additional suggestions for films about race and Afro-descendants in the region, directed by non-Latin American filmmakers.