Of Rio de Janeiro’s over 300 favelas, or slums, the Vigario Geral favela is considered to be one of the most dangerous of them all. It’s a place where lullabies are replaced by the sound of gunshots, where nobody wants to play the cop in cops and robbers, and where a child’s most common aspiration is to become a drug lord.
Police brutality is rampant and on one tragic night in 1993, officers assassinated 21 residents in an attempt to avenge 4 officers’ deaths at the hands of drug lords. The problem was that the residents that were murdered were all innocent and unaffiliated with those responsible. Among the residents killed was the brother of Anderson Sá, a former drug-trafficker who as a response to his personal tragedy became a social revolutionary.
Anderson began to search for ways to end the violence in Vigario Geral. On his search, he met Jose Junior another resident who had been campaigning for a change in the favela. Together, they formed AfroReggae, a movement was to counteract violence through music and dance.
The AfroReggae movement’s reach and effect far surpassed anything they could have imagined but at the peak of the AfroReggae’s influence with the youth, Anderson suffered an accident that threatened to stop the movement in its tracks.
“Favela Rising” is a winner of 36 film festival awards and was even shortlisted for an Oscar. Watch “Favela Rising” to witness a true story of courage and change in the face of adversity.