Brazil’s LGBT refugees tell their stories in the short film ‘Hazte Sentir’

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01/24/2021

The short film Hazte Sentir (Make Yourself Heard) documents a moment in the lives of LGBT refugees in Manaus, the largest city in Brazil’s Amazonas state. Cineola and Frameline share the collaborative film free online. The process of creating the film is unique. Director Dieter Deswarte shared directing duties with the subjects, residents of Casa Miga, Brazil’s first shelter for LGBT refugees, which opened in 2018. Gay and trans subjects tell their heartbreaking stories (with English subtitles) with a few jokes, signifying a ray of hope. One young man tells how the collapsing economy in Venezuela left the country with either the rich or extremely poor, with four million people fleeing the country. “There is no middle class,” he says. “You either buy rice and no chicken or chicken but no rice.” He tells of the dangers of theft at refugee camps, and their journey to Brazil, which itself is no paradise. Anti-gay and anti-trans murders occur daily. Others discuss the arduous process of getting identity papers and professional accreditation (one refugee is a doctor). Intimate and direct, this short film shows the resilience of queer people in South America.

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