Behind the Lens: Crafting Intimate Portraits

We are delighted to partner with IberoDocs for a panel discussion raising crucial ethical and creative questions on the process of making independent documentaries about cultural icons. How can filmmakers make sensitive use of archive film? How can we tell true stories in compelling ways–even if they occurred years ago? And as biopics and celebrity documentaries enjoy a moment in the sun, what moral considerations face those behind the camera?

Whether it's the life and work of writer José Saramago and his wife, Pilar, or Miúcha, the renowned Brazilian singer known as the 'Voice of Bossa Nova', this event will explore how to capture the person behind the famous name, how to convey emotion and intimacy around past experiences, and what tools to use in shaping moving and authentic stories.

In a media space dominated by celebrity docs, this discussion showcases dedicated filmmakers who explore unheard, remarkable voices with depth and care.  We will be joined by director Miguel Gonçalves Mendes (José & Pilar) and co-directors Daniel Zavros and Liliane Mutti (Miúcha: The Voice of Bossa Nova), to reflect on their experiences and challenges of making these films. 


Born in 1978 in Covilhã, Miguel Gonçalves Mendes studied Film Direction, specialising in editing, at the Superior School of Theatre and Cinema, Portugal. A significant portion of his documentary work revolves around portraying icons of Portuguese culture. In addition to capturing the essence of Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, Mendes has portrayed Eduardo Lourenço (Saudade's Labyrinth), Mário Cesariny (Autografia), and Álvaro Siza. With a career spanning over two decades, he has produced six feature films, numerous short films, and music videos, not to mention contributing to films by other directors. Beyond his directorial endeavours, Miguel Gonçalves Mendes has taught at various universities, authored books, and curated exhibitions. His works have been showcased at MoMA in New York, Los Angeles, and in the main Brazilian cultural institutions


Born in Bahia, Liliane Mutti lives between Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, where she dedicates herself to filming and developing audiovisual projects with female protagonists. She is the screenwriter and director of the film Miúcha, a voz da Bossa Nova, with Daniel Zarvos, which won awards at the IndieLisboa and In-Edit Mexico festivals, was a finalist for the ABC award and has been shown in 32 countries, including the United States, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Holland, Israel, South Korea, Argentina, Chile, among others. With a master's degree in Gender Studies from Paris 8 University, Liliane Mutti member of the 50/50 feminist collective and president of the Ciné Bossa Nova Association, a Franco-Brazilian organisation dedicated to supporting the creation and circulation of hybrid works that challenge the boundaries between documentary, fiction and animation.


Daniel Zarvos graduated from Bard College in 1997 with a degree in liberal Arts and major in Film, after receiving a Fullbright scholarship in 1993. He began his career in New York by working as a production assistant for documentaries produced for National Geographic, for Italian TV and film archivist at Anthology Film Archives under the supervision of Jonas Mekas. Returning to his hometown in Rio de Janeiro in Brasil he worked at Walter Salles Production Company VideoFilmes, where he was an assistant director to Henri Raillard in the feature documentary about Oscar Niemeyer and director assistant in the feature Documentary Raízes do Brazil with Nelson Pereira dos Santos. From 2018- 2021 Daniel Zarvos directed and edited the 20 episodes each of the Tv Series Decola, set in the Amazon and northern Brazil. In 2022 Daniel Zarvos produced and directed with Liliane Mutti the feature documentary film Miúcha, a voz da Bossa Nova about the singer Miúcha and her husband João Gilberto.


02 March 2024, 12.30PM - 01.30PM


MacDonald Road Library


Helena MacDonald Glenda Rome Clara Bessos Polina Moshenska Jose Luis Cote

Will you come?

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  • Helena MacDonald
    rsvped 2024-02-19 13:38:19 +0000
  • Glenda Rome
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