This article appeared on Huffington Post.
Children growing up in Mare favela, one of the most dangerous slums in Brazil’s Rio, have seen appalling violence. The cluster of 16 neighborhoods that is home to some 130,000 people is notoriously dangerous, a center of gang gang rivalries and repeated invasions by military and civil police.
“I died in the Mare,” a new documentary by Marie Naudascher and Patrick Vanier, follows the children of the Mare favela as they struggle to cope with events that are often too harsh to relay in words. The film was crowdfunded through independent journalism agency A Pública (a LAB partner).
The scars are internal, invisible,” Yvonne Bezerra de Mello, who founded a community project for children affected by the violence, tells the filmmakers. “These scars will be visible a little bit later.”
After Brazil won its bid to host the World Cup in 2014, the government initiated a “pacification” program across the favelas to drive out the drug gangs. Agence France Press reports that Mare became a refuge for criminals fleeing surrounding slums targeted under the program. Mare was next on the list, but the program was postponed and police are retreating from the neighborhood, according to The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, the children of Mare favela struggle to cope with the brutality on their doorsteps. ”
Watch the full documentary “I died in the Mare” below, and visit Agencia Pública to learn more.