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Film Screening: Dry Ground Burning

General Programming

dateApril 28, 2023 timeFriday, 5:30pm–8:00pm EDT location Jerome Greene Hall (Law School), Proskauer Auditorium (Room 104), Columbia University
  • The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
  • The Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought
  • Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
  • Columbia Center for the Study of Social Difference
  • Columbia Climate School
  • Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures
  • Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender
  • Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies
  • Institute of Latin American Studies
  • Institute for Ideas and Imagination
  • Institute for the Study of Human Rights
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Woman in 3/4 view looking over shoulder through a blue filter

This film screening is the first piece of a two-part event, and will be followed by the Beyond Dystopia Roundtable on Saturday, April 29. (Separate event: more info here.)

Dry Ground Burning (2022)
A film by Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós

Just released from prison, Léa (Léa Alves Silva) returns home to the Brasilia favela of Sol Nascente and joins up with her half-sister Chitara (Joana Darc Furtado), the fearless leader of an all-female gang that steals and refines oil from underground pipes and sells gasoline to a clandestine network of motorcyclists. Living in constant opposition to Jair Bolsonaro’s fiercely authoritarian and militarized government, Chitara’s women claim the streets for themselves as a declaration of radical political resistance on behalf of ex-cons and the oppressed. An electrifying portrait of Brazil’s dystopian contemporary moment that blends documentary with narrative fiction and genre elements, Dry Ground Burning reunites filmmakers Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós (Once There Was Brasilia) to offer a unique vision of the country’s possible future.

A discussion between co-director Joana Pimenta and Profesor Richard Peña will follow the film.

This film screening and discussion are presented in conjunction with Refugee Cities: Urban Dimensions of Forced Displacement, a two-day conference on migration and displacements. The Beyond Dystopia roundtable on Saturday morning will expand on and deepen the ideas raised both at the conference and in the film.

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.


Joana Pimenta is a filmmaker from Portugal, living and working in the United States and Brazil. Her latest film Dry Ground Burning, co-directed with Adirley Queirós, tells the story of the Gasolineiras de Kebradas, a group of women from Sol Nascente who steal oil and resist Bolsonaro’s presidency. As it echoes through the walls of Colmeia, the women’s prison of Brasilia. Dry Ground Burning premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, screened at the New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, among many others, and received more than 30 awards. Joana teaches in the department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies at Harvard University, where she is Director of Graduate Studies for Critical Media Practice and Director of the Film Study Center at Harvard.

Richard Peña has been at Columbia since 1989, becoming full-time in 1996 and being named Professor of Professional Practice in 2003; from 2006 - 2009 was a Visiting Professor in Spanish at Princeton University. Mr. Peña has also served as the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival from 1988 to 2012.


Image: © Grasshopper Film