Afro Uruguay: Forward Together is a documentary project about the Afro Uruguayan community, its unique history, rich musical traditions, and contemporary struggles for uplift and change.
From 2012 to 2014, Iris Films’ executive director Pamela Harris embarked on a Fulbright Grant to Uruguay to gather documentary footage of the Afro Uruguayan population. She shot 60 hours of footage, and gathered a substantial amount of archival images and other resources. She is now working to develop this material into two films.
The first film, Farías: an Afro Uruguayan Love Story, is an 11-minute documentary that invites viewers to the quiet rural town of Melo, where a man shares his memories of his mother who was, in her time, the last known living Uruguayan person born in slavery. What results is a nuanced meditation on mother-son love, the struggles of a people, and the deep connections between national histories and intimate life.
The second film, A Home Called Ansina, will be a longer documentary exploring the brutal displacement of a historic Afro Uruguayan community under the dictatorship (1973-1984). The story unfolds through the memories of multiple eye witnesses and long-time residents, as they transport viewers to the early days of Ansina as a hub and haven for black culture, the mass eviction that displaced residents in 1978, and the ongoing struggles and triumphs of black activists working to reclaim the neighborhood. The narratives will weave together a textured portrait of the intimate and societal effects of injustice, as well as of the unique and largely underrepresented culture of black Uruguay.
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