Interview with Catarina Neves Ricci
› 26 years old, Portuguese
› Film producer & director
› Studies: film schools in Brazil & Argentina
› Worked in various fields in Lisbon & Barcelona
› Latest documentary film: OF AMSTERDAM
How did you decide to shoot OF AMSTERDAM?
It was obvious for me! I live in Amsterdam now but I have lived in four other countries in the past and often felt a foreigner; sometimes it is too easy, other times rather "uncomfortable."
In terms of immigration, I believe this is a "bad time," especially in Europe; too much judgement and too many stereotypes. We should realise that we all become better people if we share our (different) knowledge and culture.
In this film, I wanted to show some successful immigration stories; people who have professional opportunities and who feel part of the local society. Most protagonists in my film love Amsterdam as true Amsterdammers.
OF AMSTERDAM is not a political project; it is a film to watch, to admire and maybe to discuss. It is not my intention to stress anything special apart from the art of the movement, the word, the song, the street…
OF AMSTERDAM had its premiere in Lisbon. How did the public react? Any comments?
Most people really enjoyed it; I had all kinds of positive comments. I guess when you understand the concept and the idea behind it, there is no reason why not to enjoy it. So far people keep telling me how much they love the photography, performances, music and casting.
In one of the two exhibitions we had in Lisbon, two guys came to thank me for doing this film. I felt so special because they were really touched and emotional about what they saw. They had never lived in Amsterdam or been expats / immigrants themselves, but they understood the characters and the city. Given that this is my first (and low-budget) project, it has been going great!
"You do not make art to earn money. You make art because you have to make it."
Will art projects and new artists be affected by the Dutch government's cultural fund cuts?
It is possible! But we all know that many are already thinking about solutions and fighting against these "anti-cultural" policies, so I want to believe that it is not going to end like this.
People have to fight in order to change this situation. A city and a country can only exist if they have their very own, free cultural and artistic identities. The Netherlands has been a good example so far and this government has to understand this!
Any future plans?
I am excited to be in Amsterdam and finally start promoting the film. We want to make some small / medium-scale presentations so everyone will be able to watch OF AMSTERDAM.
At the moment, I am taking part (as a producer) in a great music and film project in town and I am always open to new challenges. I never make rigid plans.