You can’t really understand a problem until you see it through the eyes of someone living it.
That’s the idea behind Gabriela Watson Aurazo’s film exploring educational inequity in communities of color across the world, “Baobab Flowers,” which draws comparisons between two teachers living in very different parts of the world — Philadelphia and São Paulo, Brazil — yet experiencing similar struggles within their respective public school systems.
While local audiences will likely be familiar with Philly’s problems with its public schools, Watson Aurazo expects them to be surprised by “seeing how close to Brazil’s reality it is,” she said. “Unfortunately, it’s very similar.”
In the case of the Philadelphia subject, “you can see a teacher who wants to help her community is not able to do her job” because of a lack of financial support from the school district, Watson Aurazo said, “but also how it affects her personal life.”
The São Paulo native said she tried to work primarily with women and especially women of color on set and is “so happy” to have her film debut at BlackStar.
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“It means a lot because I’ve been living in Philly for four years,” she said, “and I wanted to make an homage to two cities that I really care about.”