White Cross. Black Earth.

A visitor to a strange village, built around a cemetery, receives locals to discuss the history behind the area and tell them about his life and his relationship to the black earth he has found there and the work he does.

  • Roderick Steel
    The Balance, Markers
  • Roderick Steel
  • Adriana Tabalipa
  • Rodrigo Marques
    Key Cast
  • Roderick Steel
  • Roderick Steel
  • Roderick Steel
  • André Scheinkmann
    Original Score
  • Adriana Tabalipa
    Performance Art
  • Roderick Steel
    Performance Art
  • Gabriela Andrade
    Performance Art
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Cruz Branca em Terra Preta
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Horror, Art, Performance
  • Runtime:
    29 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 31, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Roderick Steel

Visual artist, photographer, researcher and documentary filmmaker, Roderick majored in film in the US, and worked with documentaries in the US and England. He is currently a PhD student at the University of São Paulo’s College of Communication. His work stems from the need to create new entanglements between objects and images in order to interweave different temporal and spatial systems, to propose and reveal critical interactions between performance rites, the human body, and the audiovisual image. Rod is interested in the journey images take within other images, and he explores how we construct images of ourselves and project these into diverse territories. Rod participates regularly in ethnographic film festivals, experimental video and contemporary art exhibits. He filmed a series of documentary feature films on Afro-Brazilian religions, and currently experiments with artistic devices that force Performance Art and audiovisual performance into unusual circuits and feedback loops.

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Director Statement

"White Cross. Black Earth" was filmed in 2014 over 3 days during a hybrid event sponsored by Brazil's Foundation for the Arts (FUNARTE) that selected a handful of artists to occupy a cemetery in the middle of Minas Gerais state. "Fish's cemetery" is named after a slave that patrolled the area for diamond smugglers. Depending on how the story is told, when "Peixe" – or "Fish" (he lived off fish in the local river) – was found dead with a huge diamond in his hand his master was so pleased with him that he buried him in a cemetery next to his own family. The film transposes the cemetery and its surroundings onto three screens, to create a cinematic tower. From there we are launched into a contemporary updating of Fish and his myth through a series of performances and talks with locals. We encounter Rodrigo, whose art and spiritual connection to the region allows us to gain insights into the region's past while asking us what the future holds.