João Meirinhos is a filmmaker with strong inclinations toward experimental ethnography and visual art. Over the past two decades, he has worked with socially engaged organizations that promote creative responses to injustice and environmental degradation. Based in Lisbon, Portugal since 2016, João is founder of Filmes Sombra, a production company focused on art, audiovisual production, and anthropology. There he works in a myriad of different roles, including investigator, performer, director, cinematographer, video editor, photographer, and copywriter.

In 2010, João began a long-standing collaboration to develop “Cinéma du Désert,” a project supported by the Italian NGO Bambini Nel Deserto. “Cinéma du Désert” is a solar-powered mobile cinema that visits the world and offers free film screenings to some of West Africa’s and Central Asia’s most isolated communities.

João intuitively uses photography, text, and film as a means of engaging with diverse communities and exploring often-uncomfortable situations. He attempts to view social issues from overlooked and disregarded angles, with a goal of revealing unconscious biases and hidden structures of power. Throughout his work, he aims to ask a number of key questions: How are social phenomena embedded within inhabited landscapes? How do physical environments reflect human behaviors, beliefs, and representational systems? And, ultimately, how are we perceived by others and how do others perceive themselves?

(Photo credit: João Meirinhos)

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