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"Hygieia" is an abstract healing process that takes place in the unconscious mind of the deity. Inspired by an ancient incubation treatment, known as Enkoimeses, the sci-fi queer film portrays Hygieia, Goddess of Health and Hygiene, and daughter of Asclepius, God of Healing, experiencing a powerful awakening. Enveloped in a space-capsule-cocoon, Emilianno Zapata’s performance as the mythological Hygieia evokes different physical, mental, and spiritual states, until the Goddess is healed, sheds her own skin, and is reborn. Referencing the snake as a symbol of rebirth, immortality, and healing, and the dual nature of its venom, the visual journey transitions from a state of disturbance to an enlightening experience. Paulo Mendel’s hypnotic and dream-like aesthetic, emerges from these spiritual and symbolic entanglements, and expands an untouchable body into the infinite universe.

This short is part of a film series created by the queer performer Emiliano Zapata and the director Paulo Mendel.

  • Paulo Mendel
  • Emilianno Zapata
    Key Cast
  • Mariana Maltoni
  • Luciano Oliveira
    Original Soundtrack
  • BlankTape | Art and Films
    Production Company
  • Emilianno Zapata
    Executive Producer
  • André Magalhães
    Story by
  • Pedro Fiorillo
  • Felipe Argollo
  • Camila Schmidt
    Production Design
  • Paulo Ferreira
    Production Design
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 2 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 5, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Buenos Aires International FIlm Festival
    Buenos Aires
    Official Selection for Short Film Experimental and Best Soundtrack.
  • Darkroom Festival
    United Kingdom
    September 24, 2022
    Official Selection for Experimental Short.
  • MIS - Museu da Imagem e do Som
    São Paulo
    August 25, 2022
    Selected for the exhibition "Arte, Audiovisual e NFT".
  • Image+Nation Festival Film lgbtqueer Montreal
    Official Selection for the screening "Futur/e/s Queer Utopia".
  • Buenos Aires Indie Shorts Awards
    Buenos Aires
    Official Selection for Experimental Short.
  • IV Floripa Que Horror! International Fantastic Film Festival
    Official Selection for Brazilian Short Film
  • Cinefantasy - International Fantastic Film Festival
    Sao Paulo
    Official Selection for Fantastic Diversity Competitive Session (LGBTQIAP+)
Director Biography - Paulo Mendel

Paulo Mendel is a director, cinematographer, editor, visual artist and independent curator. He explores audiovisual possibilities in different media, especially the interface between art and video and between video art and documentary. He has worked in short and feature films, commercials, animations and art films. His hybrid works – webdocumentaries, video installations, multimedia stage designs, videodances – have been exhibited at major festivals, such as the Bienal de Sao Paulo, the Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil and the Prague Quadrennial, and are included in collections such as those of Circuito Videodanza Mercosur and Centre de Vidéo-danse de Bourgogne.

Mendel also began to create in other media – such as web-art and oil paintings – as well directing projects of his production company BlankTape, with which he also organizes online exhibitions, a way to dialogue with other artists and reflect upon contemporary production. In recent years, a short documentary directed by him won the APA Award 2019, the most important recognition in the field of visual anthropology in Portugal. and his first fashion film won six internationals awards, including for Best Director in London and for Best Photography in Barcelona. In 2021, he won in two categories at Rio Webfest: Best Directing (Non-fiction) and Best Diversity Series.

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