Mariona Lloreta Shares Her Love for Brazil in Amenze: In Between Worlds

Interview by Iman Childs, Reel Sisters correspondent

Mariona Lloreta, the writer, director, and cinematographer behind Amenze: In Between Worlds, invited Reel Sisters to her home to discuss her visually stunning short film. Newcomer Simone Manigo stars as Amenze, a sex worker in Brazil, who embarks on a journey to rediscover her identity after receiving a call from a long-lost friend in Nigeria.

Amenze, much like its director, is multicultural; the small international crew filmed the short in both Rio de Janeiro and New York City. Lloreta’s background as a Spanish filmmaker with North African roots provided the inspiration for the film.

“I’m originally from Barcelona. I grew up there, but with a heavy influence on Brazilian culture,” says Lloreta. “Years after, I had the chance to spend some months, on and off, in Lagos, Nigeria and to draw the line between both cultures, which I’m absolutely captivated by. Last year I had the chance to travel to Rio for the first time, so I had to document all of these complexities and all of these stories into one [film].”

Through her work, Lloreta seeks to connect cultures and challenge stereotypes, which is precisely why she was drawn to Brazil.

“There are so many parallels between Nigerian culture and Brazilian culture. Even in Bahia, in Salvador de Bahia, which is just a few hours away from Rio, they preserve Yoruba language almost intact. They preserve West African cuisine almost intact, if not intact,” Lloreta states.

“The levels to which culture has been preserved in Brazil are so incredible…it’s just so wonderful to see how they’ve managed to preserve the culture, preserve the tradition, and also how that influence embeds into how Brazilian culture has evolved.”

The connective threads that unite humanity is a theme that is interwoven throughout her work. She states, “I make it my life purpose through my work to connect people and to make people feel more tolerant towards one another and more open to receiving and exchanging and connecting to one another.”

Tune in to hear more about the parallels between Nigerian and Brazilian culture, Lloreta’s experience working with an international crew, and how she uses her films to increase cross-cultural understanding.

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About Mariona Lloreta

Mariona Lloreta is a film director and visual artist based between Brooklyn, NY and Barcelona, Spain. In her practice, Mariona is interested in finding beauty and exploring the nuances at the core of different cultures and making them accessible to others, so that it may challenge any preconceived notions and so it helps build a more open and more tolerant world. Her insatiable thirst for documenting cultures around the world has brought her to transcend the boundaries of her native Barcelona to work and live in countries such as Nigeria, Brazil, China, Italy or the United States.

Drawing upon diverse roots in a variety of disciplines, Mariona’s seminal qualities as a filmmaker lie in her vast experience on both sides of the lens. She possesses a visual artist’s keen eye for beauty, a musician’s ear for harmony, a dancer’s sense of poise, and a writer’s knack for creating gripping narratives.

Other works by Mariona include the short film exploring skin bleaching Sankofa, Part I and creative film Queen, Lift Your Chin Up! (post-production). She has also directed several documentary films including The Lagos Music Salon for Sony artist Somi and ReSignifying Florence commissioned by New York University.

Amenze screens at LIU Brooklyn on Oct. 22, 2016, 1 pm

Tickets $10: Amenze