Film and Literature
From imagination to empathy
“ I truly and passionately believe that reading and trying to write are the most important things you can do to change your life. ” – Susie Nicklin, Literature Director - British Council.
British writer Ian McEwan once said that true intelligence requires an incredible imagination. And nothing better than reading to nurture it. Many studies have already been made trying to connect reading and intelligence, all with very similar results – that the habit of reading improves the comprehension of life. Not only that: reading classics increases empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence, abilities that not only enrich life but also contribute to a better and fairer world.
As a part of the Olympic legacy, the programme Transform supported large-scale projects and events that demonstrate the British Council's involvement with the arts in Brazil through educational, artistic and exchange activities with the United Kingdom, taking place between the London Olympics 2012 and Rio 2016. And as it should be, literature and cinema were one of the highlighted areas of work within the programme.
Director of Arts, British Council
was our audience at Festival do Rio - British Focus at Copacabana beach in 2012
people joined us at FLUPP, Literary Festival for peripheral communities, in Rio de Janeiro in 2012
atendees at our various events during Literary Festival FLIP in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
Arts Project Manager for Music and Cinema
Culture for all
"A study conducted in the United Kingdom showed that if you are a parent and want to influence your child, the most important thing you can do is encourage them to read for pleasure; more important than piano lessons, learning mandarin or writing, reading is more important than any other thing that money can buy", says Susie Nickling, during the first FLUPP, Literary Festival for under served communities in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. The event, supported by the British Council, aims to engage vulnerable communities with excellence in the arts by creating opportunities for new talents. Over four days, Brazilian and British writers performed, read and discussed matters that involve the daily concerns in the urban communities. "The decision to support FLUPP was very easy, because it brings values that the British Council already shared of democratization of culture, supporting new authors and artists and taking culture to marginalized communities", explains Luiz Coradazzi, Arts Director of the British Council Brazil. To Lucimara Letelier, Deputy Director for Arts at the British Council, art surpasses the barriers between cultures. "When you talk about literature, you're talking about popular knowledge, the history of people. Literature brings these cultures together and we understand that a programme like this can transform the way one culture sees another", concludes Lucimara.
VIDEO: FLUPP 2012
Check out more Transform videos [+]
From United Kingdom to the world
Shakespeare's legacy was celebrated in the 400 years of his death by the Shakespeare Lives, a global campaign present in over 140 countries which includes artistic and educational activities all over Brazil. The programme brings dance and theatre shows, film and art exhibitions and the publishing of educational resources for teaching English. Though not technically a part of Transform, it was thanks to it and relationship building along the years that allowed the Shakespeare Lives campaign to strengthen its presence at FLIP, Paraty International Literary Festival, where the British Council hosted the Shakespeare House in 2016. The five day event took place at the Nossa Senhora das Dores Chapel, at the city's historical centre. Determined to bringing the author closer to new audiences and deepen the experience for existing fans of Shakespeare's work, the house was a stage for specialists' debates, performances, commissioned sculptures of characters of the Bard, and trainings for teachers – whilst sipping English tea offered by our all day complimentary tea service. In 2014, also in Paraty, newcomer and mid-level Brazilian and British literary translators gathered for a workshop at Escola de Inverno (Winter School), a partnership between the British Council, the Fundação Biblioteca Nacional and the Universidade Fluminense ,supported by the Arts Council England. Aiming to value this important area of work and to create a professional networking among both countries, these workshops brought discussions about the complexity and the inherent challenges of the craft.
Access and opportunity
It's worth reminding that Transform was launched at the Rio Festival in 2012 – Focus UK, with silent Hitchcock films restored by the British Film Institute’s National Archive (BFI) and featured at Copacabana beach, with live soundtrack performed by the Young Brazilian Symphonic Orchestra. The British Council also promoted an important exchange between Brazilian and British professionals from the sector through participation in festivals. The Mostra Geração presented British movies for under served communities in Rio de Janeiro aimed at a younger audience, followed by debates with directors, authors and other specialists. Rewarded filmmakers (as the Bafta winning Scottish animator and director Ainslie Henderson) and educators from the Glasgow Youth Film Festival have participated of the educational programme in the Amazonas Film Festival; the Festival de Curtas de São Paulo and the Encounters SFF Bristol also established a rich partnership, as well as the Janela de Cinema de Recife and the British Film Institute Archive special programme. All these partnerships provided master classes, debates, lectures and workshops on animation, special effects and festivals production.
“When you talk about literature, you're talking about popular knowledge, the history of people. Literature brings these cultures together and we understand that a programme like this can transform the way one culture sees another.”
Lucimara Letelier, Deputy Director Arts, British Council
Guess who was the author most adapted to film all over the world? Yes, the Bard himself: William Shakespeare. With over a thousand mentions between films, television and series, his work was also influential for those who didn't read his work, but watched his films. As a part of Shakespeare Lives, a rare collection of films from the British Film Institute has been on tour with Shakespeare on Film, with screenings in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Recife. Shakespeare's biographers and theatre critics are unanimous stating that, beyond great classics, his work left the incomparable legacy of taking men to his own encounter, helping them with comprehending his own nature. At the individual level, his work can be considered as an additive to intelligence. At the collective level, it is a powerful tool for transcendence, because there's nothing more transforming than reflection and awareness.
“Art transforms everything."
Jo Clifford, Scottish playwright, poet and actress talks about her work with British Council/Transform projects with Núcleo de Dramaturgia SESI - British Council, Unlimited and FLUPP.