This Thursday (18th), the Cinemateca Brasileira partially resumed activities at its headquarters in Vila Clementino, south of São Paulo, after a year and a half without specialized technicians monitoring the collection.
The Society of Friends of Cinemateca, SAC, takes over, which, in addition to being chosen by the government for emergency management for three months, was also the winner of the public notice that chose the manager of the Cinemateca for the next five years.
When President Jair Bolsonaro (non-party) fired Regina Duarte, he said the actress would take over the Cinemateca. This is a promise that will not be fulfilled, since it is the managing entity, of private initiative, who decides on its staff, and Regina is not part of SAC’s plans.
“We are not going to do anything running or irresponsibly,” says Maria Dora Mourão, executive director of SAC. “Now we’re going to have to look at everything. Even what’s in the big air-conditioned refrigerator, you have to check if anything happened inside, because there wasn’t the correct climate control. The professionals inside the Cinemateca were firefighters, security guards and janitors, who are not qualified to check HVAC.”
At this first moment, 18 employees were hired to handle documentation and preservation laboratories, says the director.
Among these 18 people are old acquaintances from the Cinemateca, such as Olga Futemma, who started working at the institution in 1984, became a director and will now occupy a supervisory role.
Gabriela Queiroz, documentation coordinator, and Rodrigo Mercês, who coordinates the preservation laboratories, also return.
“In the initial proposal we made to the government, in August of last year, we had 40 names. Well, a year and three months later, obviously many of these people are in other places and could not go back now,” says Mourão. “We can’t hire new people right now, because until people understand [o funcionamento da Cinemateca] it will take time, and we don’t have that time.”
During the management of the Association for Educational Communication Roquette Pinto, Acerp, the Cinemateca had around 60 employees, says Mourão, who also recalls that in the heyday of SAC, between 2008 and 2013, it had 140 professionals.
“First, we need to open the drawers, find out what happened, because it’s been a year and three months since there’s been any specialized technician who had entered the Cinemateca. It’s necessary to check the situation, make a diagnosis, and then plan for continuity. , obviously, you’ll have to hire more people, with 18 people you don’t do much,” says Mourão.
According to the director, it is not possible to predict exactly when programming aimed at the public will resume, but she estimates that this should happen in the first half of 2022.
At the end of July, a fire reached a warehouse at the Cinemateca Brasileira, in the west side of São Paulo. There is still no definitive report on the causes and consequences of the tragedy, and SAC does not have access to the site. According to Dora Mourão, SAC can only enter the Vila Leopoldina warehouse with authorization from the Civil Defense, just to observe the location, that is, it does not have authorization to handle the material that is there. “Only after we have a final report will we be able to mess with things”, he says.
SAC’s idea is that all the material that is in the warehouse that caught fire is directed to the Cinemateca headquarters building.
“When you can move the material, the agreement is that we will bring everything to Vila Clementino [a sede oficial]”, says the director of SAC. It is still uncertain whether all the material will fit in the headquarters building, so there is the possibility of leaving part of it in containers. “Of course the collection will not [ficará armazenado em contêiner]”, clarifies, however.
According to her, there is a series of old cinema equipment in the warehouse, which are stored with the expectation that, one day, they will be part of a cinema museum, which for now is just an idea. It would be these old equipment that would stay in the containers.