New documentary shows continued Azores links of New England community

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 21-01-2020 17:22:00 · 2 Comments

“Esse Mundo Fora do Mundo” (This World Outside the World) is the title of a new documentary by the Burra de Milho Cultural Association of Terceira island on how the Azorean community in New England, in the US, remains connected to its roots in the archipelago.

"There is a group of entities that foster and defend the Portuguese language and culture and, around these associations and the events they organise ... the connection to the land and the language is maintained," said Miguel Costa, president of the association and the documentary's director, in comments to Lusa.

This, Costa's first film, was premiered on Saturday in Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira. It is also expected to be screened in the US, where it was shot in 2015 and 2016, but there are as yet no dates scheduled.

The idea of portraying the community in a documentry came up in a visit by Costa to New England as part of the promotion of the Azorean film festival Amostram'isse.

"We were surprised and amazed by the size of the network [in the US] and the intensity with which people wanted to help promote everything related to their land,” Costa said. “We had heard stories like that, but seeing it happen was different. We got the idea of one day producing something on those communities.”

The documentary focuses on a group of facilitators and leaders of cultural groups, linked to universities and to positions of leadership and political responsibility, who end up being the leaders of the community.

"What we found interesting was capturing their perspective on the group in general," Costa told Lusa. "How people gave of themselves among the various communities within the community itself, the spirit of solidarity, to what extent there was an exchange of contacts and what was the influence on the region's economy, to understand what the power of the community as a whole was in the area of finance and business."

In a region with a large Azorean community, the connection to the land of the emigrants' origin is still alive, especially through initiatives promoted by cultural associations and through schools that teach Portuguese.

Asked about the passage of the legacy to the younger generations - the children and grandchildren of emigrants - Costa said that this theme was for another documentary, but expressed confidence that it would be passed on.

"I think it was more urgent, they were more afraid of the younger generations not caring [for their roots] than they are today,” he said, adding that he sees a certain spirit of hope and renewal emerging with the new generations and their interest in their heritage.

“Portugal and the Azores are already more attractive," he said, arguing that there is now more prospect for doing business or living in the country of their parents and grandparents.

The Portuguese school in such communities continues to be the main link for future generations, but Costa said that people are also discussing the possibility of adapting some activities to using the English language, in order to better capture the attention of youngsters.


Comments:

Hello

Loved your article about the Portuguese and namely Azorean Diaspora. Doing research on the islands and wondering where I might get up to date details of the Azorean Diaspora in the USA and Canada by state/province repectively and telephone/email contacts of the largest Azorean diaspora associations/groups.

Many thanks

Stephen Spencer

By stephen spencer from Other on 31-08-2020 03:14

I can speak with confidence for both the New England region and San Diego, California, that there is in fact a thriving ex-pat community with deep emotional and perhaps some business ties to the "Motherland" of Portugal.
Recently there was a story printed in "The Portugal News" about the concern of the Portuguese language losing ground and calling for more Portuguese language classes. This is a fact and must be addressed.
However, a thriving Portuguese population is still very active in these communities in their support of the heritage and culture of Portugal.
It is always a pleasing thought for me that my father was the first president of the Portuguese-American Civic League of Cambridge and Somerville (Boston). This fact has allowed me to always keep and interest in the happenings in Portugal. Frank was a great man. He always remembered his family in the Azores and took care of them.

By Marc J. Moniz from USA on 22-01-2020 01:06
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