16 September 2019

Dr. Byrad Yyelland and Dr. Johan Granberg Win Film Award

Faculty from VCUarts Qatar’s Liberal Arts and Sciences and Interior Design departments have won an award for a documentary that highlights the lives of the residents of one of Rio’s favelas.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Assistant Professor Dr. Byrad Yyelland and Interior Design Associate Professor Dr. Johan Granberg have received the Golden Film award from the International Institute for Advanced Studies in Systems Research and Cybernetics (IIAS) for their documentary film, "Living in the Above: Taveres Bastos Favela."

The film, a collaboration between an architect (Granberg) and a sociologist (Yyelland) is an ethno-architectural portrait of life in a small neighborhood in Brazil.

Yyelland and Granberg conducted research on social interactions, identity development and community-building for over five years on Tavares Bastos, a small informal settlement (favela) located above the Katete area of Rio de Janeiro, in respect with the juxtaposition and negotiation amongst nature and architectural design, while leading a team of international film makers.

Greg Andonian from the IIAS said that the film portrays “Favela life worth living to its fullest, within the individual means, when one indeed loves living in a secure and trustful social micro environment, in harmony with nature, with thrilling panoramic views of the city projecting onto the ocean.”

While favelas have long had a negative reputation, the film showcases a desirable life of the inhabitants of this particular neighborhood.

Granberg said, “We see the film as a declaration of love for a forgotten place that has much to offer in the dialog of how we create our modern cities.”

The film has been shown in film festivals, conferences and has been used as teaching material worldwide.

It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut-CPIWl6-E.

The work with the film was made possible thanks to a generous grant from VCUarts Qatar.

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