MFA candidate Valentina Homem's documentary Abigail was a short film selection at Cannes International Film Festival 2016 Director's Fortnight. Co-directed by Isabel Penoni, Abigail connects the dots of a human map that links the indigenous Amazon cultures to Afro-Brazilian religions through an extraordinary woman.
For more than thirty years, Abigail was the partner of Francisco Meireles, well recognized in Brazil for his work in missions aimed to make peaceful contact with isolated indigenous peoples in the 1940s and 1950s. As Francisco’s companion, Abigail participated in his first expeditions to contact the Xavantes group from Serra do Roncador (in the state of Mato Grosso), living eight years in their territory. In her house she pulls together threads to connect the dots of a long life shared between the Xavantes and the ancestral gods and goddesses of Candomblé, the afro-Brazilian religion of which she became adept of after moving to Rio de Janeiro from Serra do Rocandor.
In addition to its presentation at Director's Fortnight, Abigail has been screened at Curtas Vila do Conde (Portugal), Kinoforum (São Paulo, Brazil), Cachoeiradoc (Bahia, Brazil) and Semana dos Realizadores (Rio de Janeiro). It was also one of the twelve films selected for Festival de Brasilia, the most prestigious Brazilian festival.
Valentina Homem is a Brazilian filmmaker and artist, currently working on her thesis film for Temple University. Her artistic research and work lie at the intersections between documentary, performance and visual arts. She directed Granny (2002), With a Camera (2006), Speak Up! (2005), Landscaping (2007), New Order (2010), Brócolis (2015) - all of which premiered at several international film festivals - and Abigail (2016). Homem is developing the short animation The Tale of the Yellow Girl; and her first feature film, Last Dance For Grandma In Three Acts. Homem has also been invited as a guest filmmaker to the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) Forum, in Bahia, Brazil this September.