The Videobrasil network

October 2003 -

Videobrasil not only organises the video festival with the same name. The organisation has been working since 2001 on a database with a selection of the videos shown in the past twenty years. 'The festival ends,' says Solange Farks. 'But the database is always accessible, everywhere, via Internet'.

It is an important tool for creating a strong network in the southern hemisphere. In selecting the works of art, Videobarsil is assisted by a community in the shanty towns of São Paulo. The organisation trains the volunteers as curators, enabling them to develop a critical eye. Videobrasil also provides the youths with a camera and lessons on how to make short films. 'Video is a powerful tool for changing situations because it is a direct form of communication,' says Farkas.

For the database, which will be completed late in 2004, Videobrasil receives financial support from the Prince Claus fund. As it does for the video-biographies that the organisation publishes. The cooperation between Videobrasil and the Prince Claus fund goes beyond one-time financial support, however. The fund has entered into a three-year contract with the Brazilian organisation. This is a new strategy. The fund has also established similar partnerships with five other network organisations, including CCA7 in Trinidad. Vivian Paulissen, project officer: 'It is still a donor - recipient relationship: the traditional kind of development assistance. Of course we supply funds: this helps the organisations. But why should we not expect something in return? An element of reciprocity makes the relationship more equal. By sharing the content, you become partners. Videobrasil is good at bringing people together: it is a platform with expertise. That is also what we try to be. We can enhance one another's network and know-how.'

The Prince Claus Fund will link the database to its own website, giving more people access to the information stored there. The two partners regularly consult about activities and exchange ideas and contacts. The fund also continues to support projects by individual artists.