Statement issued by FIAF about the current difficulties faced by the Cinemateca Brasileira

It is with great concern that the Members and Associates of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) have heard of the difficulties that our colleagues at the Cinemateca Brasileira are currently facing. Natural disasters such as the floods that caused serious damage to its collections in São Paulo last week are aggravated by the lack of financial support which the Cinemateca Brasileira, as well as other audiovisual heritage institutions, have reportedly experienced from the Brazilian government over the past years.

Institutions such as the Cinemateca Brasileira can only fulfil their core missions of collecting, safeguarding, and sharing Brazil’s incredibly rich film heritage to the highest international standards if they are allowed to operate in a stable and supportive environment. The highly skilled professionals working for these institutions – archivists, technicians, educators, curators, and administrators – are the true custodians of this unique heritage. They keep the memory of the Brazilian nation and its diverse communities alive, and as such their work should be recognized and valued. Any measures that diminish the Cinemateca’s funding, subject it to political or administrative instability, fail to recognize the long-term nature of its work, or undermine its staff, directly threaten the country’s cultural heritage, and potentially deprive future generations of Brazilians of connecting with their artistic and cultural past.

As a Member of FIAF since 1948, the Cinemateca Brasileira is part of a global community of 169 leading not-for-profit institutions in 75 countries around the world, all strongly dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the world’s film heritage. We stand strongly with our colleagues in São Paulo, and we urge the Brazilian public and the country’s officials and decision-makers to ensure that this highly respected institution can continue to operate professionally and impartially, in the spirit of its mission and defining ethos.

Brussels, 22 February 2020