Conversation with director Catarina Alves Costa

On November 23, 2020, an online meeting of the team of researchers from the Cultures Past & Present project was held with the director Catarina Alves Costa moderated by Alice Balbé. The session was about the most recent film, the documentary Viagem aos Makonde/A Journey to the Makonde’s ( (2020) and Margot Dias archives, the publication of the book and DVD Margot Dias. Ethnographic Films (1958-1961), in 2016, a co-edition between Cinemateca Portuguesa – Museu do Cinema, I.P. and the National Museum of Ethnology, organized by Catarina Alves Costa and Paulo Ferreira da Costa.

The documentary Viagem aos Makonde (2020) was funded by DOC TV from the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), produced by Midas Filmes. Developed within the framework of the ARCHÉ Universities Award for Best Project, DOCLISBOA 2018 Best Documentary Award and Popular Jury Award at the International Film Festival of the Ethnographic Film of Recife, Brazil (2019). The CPLP Audiovisual program seeks to encourage exchange and encourage audiovisual production in Portuguese-speaking countries. The initiative includes Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Portugal, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, as well as Equatorial Guinea and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Catarina Alves Costa is a director and anthropologist. She made, among other films, Viagem aos Makonde/ A Journey to the Makonde’s (2020) Pedra e Cal (2016), Falamos de António Campos (2010), Nacional 206 (2009), O Arquiteto e a Cidade Velha (2004), Mais Alma (2000), Swagatam (1998), Senhora Aparecida (1994) and recently shared the realization of A Ramadan in Lisbon (2019). Graduated in Social Anthropology, she did her Master’s at the Granada Center for Visual Anthropology at the University of Manchester, with a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Ph.D. at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa with the thesis Camponeses do Cinema. Representations of Popular Culture in Portuguese Cinema. In 2000 she founded, with Catarina Mourão, the production company Laranja Azul where films by Daniel Blaufuks, Sílvia Firmino, and João Ribeiro, among others, were produced, among others. She is an Assistant Professor at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Coordinator of the Master in Anthropology – Visual Cultures. Coordinates the Audiovisual Laboratory, Pole FCSH of the Network Center in Anthropology / CRIA. She organized the Ethnographic Archives of Margot Dias filmed in Mozambique and Angola between 1958 and 1961 for the Cinematheque / Museu do Cinema. She also teaches at the masters and doctorates at the University of São Paulo, in Brazil, and at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Barcelona. Among others, she received the Best Documentary Award at the Recife Ethnographic Film Festival (2019), Critics Award in the Paths of Portuguese Cinema (2009), Planéte Award at the Bilan du Film Ethnographique (1999), the Society for Visual Excellence Award Anthropology American Anthropological Association Film Festival, USA and the 1st Prize of the festival VII Rassegna Internazionale di Documentari Etnografici (1996).