For Vito and his family, precarity is a daily reality in Rocinha. On some days gunshots can be heard across the throng of huts embedded in Rio’s steep mountainous landscape. On these days, the family will sit, huddled on the floor of their tiny hut, until they cease. On other days, Vito gazes up at the hut that is home and shelter to his family, to assess whether the fragile walls will hold up the ceiling for another day, or whether more earth will fall. Personal is political in the heart of one of Rio’s most conflict-ridden favelas. The precarity of daily life is mirrored in the structural precarity of the favela, which each day threatens to collapse. But this is life in Rocinha, and when a different kind of tragedy strikes for Vito, we witness the resilience and strength at the heart of this community.
Lee McKarkiel has been working for over a decade in the independent, commercial and broadcast filmmaking industry, and the participatory media sector, as a professional editor, film facilitator and more recently film director. He started his career working with the award-winning participatory media company Hi-8us, working with young people to facilitate and create films. Lee spent 7 years working on various projects as editor, tutor and producer creating projects with young people. Later, he was assistant editor on the feature length drama film Almost Adult, directed by Bafta-nominated Yousaf Ali Khan. He has been editing short films and documentaries ever since.
Sam Liebman is a director, editor and videographer for documentaries and advocacy films for international NGOs and independent production companies. He has worked in areas of high social conflict, post-conflict and political instability, including Palestine and Israel, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal and Sierra Leone. He lived in Rocinha for 6 months in 2009 where he also volunteered running filmmaking workshops with a local Women’s Rights NGO. Sam directed his first documentary, Voices Across The Wall, in 2007, about life in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, officially selected for the London International Documentary Festival 2009 and We The People 2014. He is currently co-directing a Sundance-funded documentary for Met Film Productions about land laws in Sierra Leone and is directing a Witness documentary about gender equality, also in Sierra Leone. In 2017, he completed an MA in Israeli Studies at University of London SOAS.