Gratitude, my father Obaluaê (Extended Version)

Inspired by pianist, singer and composer Zé Manoel’s song- Gratitude my father, Obaluaê! it’s about our ancestry and portrays healing through dance. Through an intensely reflective process, the purpose is to immerse in an embodied relationship to our ancestors and the religious imagery universe of candomblé.

This project began in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. It arose as a supplication to Obaluaê, the orixá of diseases, health, life and the earth, to protect us through this period of spiraling darkness. Things were falling apart, and the will to develop, create, and regenerate collectively, is how we got started.

Religious intolerance in Brazil has created a lot of marginalization and stigmatization surrounding candomblé, a religion of African origin. The experience, the magic, and the freedom of creating a film about Obaluaê with an all Black creative team meant that this film began from our vantage point, a celebration, and supplication, not as an explanation or apology.

  • Gil Alves
  • Wendel Assis
  • Project Type:
    Short, Other
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 46 seconds
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - Gil Alves, Wendel Assis

Gil Alves, is amBrazilian filmmaker and Director, graduated in Audiovisual Production (Jorge Amado University) and dance (FUNCEB), acts as artistic and creative director of shows and festivals, including: Afro Fashion Day, YouTube Black Voices Award and Afropunk Bahia Festival.

One of the selected directors for Dance Film Lab 3 (Dance Films Association NYC 2023), with his last project: Gratitude my father, Obaluaê, for which he was the screenwriter, director and performer, received festival awards in Brazil, West Africa, Europe and USA.

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Director Statement

My work tells intimate life stories through an artistic lens, told by the people themselves through their own movement, their music or any feeling that transcends through art.