Wednesday, 29, June, 2022

If I Tell, Will You Listen? | Brazilian documentary on Sexual Violence opens in theaters

The long If I Tell, Will You Listen? is the director's first audiovisual work Renata M. Coimbra. It will be released in double dose, on TV and also in cinemas in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Brasília, in addition to previews in Natal and João Pessoa. Before it hits theaters, it can be seen on the Minas Gerais television channel TV Serra Geral, which will air it on May 18 at 8 pm, and from the 20th, the film will hit theaters in different regions of the country. .

The launch date was chosen because it is the National Day to Combat Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents. A trailer of the film will be presented at the Public Hearing organized by the National Committee to Combat Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents, which will be held at the National Congress on May 12. The documentary is a sensitive and necessary account that shows how sexual violence forever changed the fate of eight girls, who as adults, report their experiences in a direct and moving way.

Director Renata Coimbra met these women more than twenty years ago, when they were still teenagers and living on the streets. At the time, Renata supervised a group of social workers from the Presidente Prudente City Hall and recorded the interviews with them. These recordings were rediscovered in a change of residence, when he found a box with the testimonies tapes.

“As I listened to them again, I started to wonder what happened to those girls. Would they be alive? At the time, they saw no way out, but what now?”, comments the director. Renata then invited Célia Freire, one of the social workers who accompanied the girls and who had developed a strong relationship with them. Together, they went in search of these young women, meeting some and being surprised by their fate, which motivated the making of this documentary.

When asked about the experience of directing a first film like this, Renata highlights: “20 years ago, when I worked with the protagonists, when they were still girls, and carried out my studies, I would never have imagined that their stories would be told through a documentary. I was a researcher, an academic, and although I had always been passionate about films from a very young age, that possibility was a long way off. Meeting them again, knowing about their lives, knowing how they were, how they faced the harsh reality they lived and about their daily struggles, was a revealing experience. Being able to convey their stories of dignity and resistance, sharing them with the public is an indescribable satisfaction.”

On the power of the audiovisual to deal with such a complex topic, the director reinforced: “I believe that the cinematographic language, with the dissemination of complex themes that require sensitivity, helps in the social mobilization and empathy of those who watch the films. Considering the seriousness represented by the cases of sexual abuse and exploitation in our country, combined with the intensification of cases during the Covid-19 pandemic, including the increase in reports of sexual violence in the online context, attentive to their perpetuation and the need of their confrontation. I hope that the documentary can promote social engagement in the defense of children and adolescents who live in such contexts.”

a movie needed

 Sexual violence affects children and adolescents of all ages and social classes. It is a complex phenomenon that encompasses two more specific spectrums: abuse and sexual exploitation. Data for 2021 collected by Unicef in partnership with the Brazilian Public Security Forum (FBSP), based on cases registered in a police report, show that every hour, five children and adolescents are victims of sexual violence in Brazil. The researchers of this phenomenon estimate that for each case recorded, at least nine others were not included in the statistics for numerous reasons.

The film also has the original soundtrack created by the award-winning musician from Minas Gerais, Maria Bragança, who was inspired by Brazilian cirandas and songs sung by the protagonists during their testimonies. One of them, the popular “Sparkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, in its medieval version, poses a revealing question: “Should I tell you, Mom, what is causing my torment?”.


Audio recordings made in the 1990s reveal the story of eight girls who were victims of sexual violence. Daughters of migrant and agricultural families, they lived on the streets of a city in the interior of Brazil, some of them since they were 9 years old. More than 20 years have passed and, now adults, they revisit their childhood and tell the reasons that took them to the streets in a surprising saga for survival.

The Director – Renata M. Coimbra

Renata M. Coimbra is a university professor at UNESP Presidente Prudente, with an MBA in Documentary Film and a PhD in Psychology. In 1999, at the beginning of her career, she interviewed a group of girls in her city exposed to commercial sexual exploitation and assisted by a team of social workers from the City Hall. Impacted by the cruelty of the situation, she began to dedicate herself to fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents (ESCCA). He wrote several articles and published books on the subject until 20 years later, when he heard the tapes recorded with these girls again, he decided to look for them and make this documentary.

About Production

The film is a production of T'AI Creation, based in Brumadinho (MG). The documentary was supported by the Ibermedia 2015 Program, was selected by the BNDES 2016 Film Notice, being contemplated for investment, becoming the first documentary project from Minas Gerais to receive this award. It is worth mentioning the importance of this national competition, established in 1995, which throughout its existence awarded 449 titles, eight of which were produced in Minas Gerais. T'AI Creation is the fourth producer from Minas Gerais to be contemplated. This work was selected in the Public Call BRDE/FSA PRODAV 01 and had public resources managed by the National Cinema Agency – ANCINE. This launch is carried out with resources from the Municipal Law of Incentive to Culture of Belo Horizonte.

The film If I Tell, Will You Listen? will make her international debut in California/USA, where she is part of the Official Selection of the LOS ANGELES WOMEN IN FILM FESTIVAL 2022.

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