Dry Ground Burning

Mato seco em chamas

Dry Ground Burning

Joana Pimenta, Adirley Queirós

Audience Award

Fresh out of prison, Léa returns to the Sol Nascente favela and joins a formidable gang of women led by her half-sister Chitara. During Léa’s absence, the women have built up a lucrative business as gasolinheiras, illegally extracting oil from an underground pipeline and refining it themselves as petrol. They negotiate a fair price with motorcycle squads that help them secretly distribute the petrol and keep rival cartels at bay. The all-female gang creates a fortress of its own and, as women, blacks, lesbians and poorer members of society, they rebel against disenfranchisement. It is a struggle against Brazil’s authoritarian government which is drifting ever more radically towards the right. Bolsonaro’s jubilant supporters stand in stark contrast to Andreia, another gang member and founder and leader of the Prison People Party, who leads an electrifying election campaign with a megaphone from a moving lorry. Documentary and fiction are closely interwoven in this dystopian film epic. The actors play themselves in their real environment, bringing the realities of their lives into the deeper layers of the narrative. It is an ethnographic science fiction film about a feminist utopia in the midst of a disintegrating society.

In cooperation with Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln (KHM)


Joana Pimenta, Adirley Queirós


Joana Pimenta


Cristina Amaral


Francisco Craesmeyer, Vitor Brandão

Sound design

Fernando Henna, Daniel Turini


Muleka 100 Calcinha


Joana Darc Furtado, Léa Alves da Silva, Andreia Vieira, Débora Alencar, Gleide Firmino, Mara Alves


Adirley Queiròs – Cinco da Norte


João Matos – Terratreme Filmes


Steppenwolf Verleih



Portrait of Joana Pimenta

Joana Pimenta

Joana Pimenta is a filmmaker from Portugal who lives and works in Brazil and the US. She studied Film and Critical Media Practice at Harvard University, where she currently teaches film. As a film director, she is closely associated with the Sensory Ethnography Lab. Her short film Um campo de aviação premiered in Locarno and has been screened at numerous international festivals.

Films by Joana Pimenta
Um campo de aviação 2016 | As figuras gravadas na faca com a seiva das bananeiras 2014

Portrait of Adirley Queiros

Adirley Queirós

Adirley Queirós initially made a career as a professional footballer, but then turned to filmmaking. His films, such as Once it was Brasilia (2017) and White Out Black In (2014), have received over 20 awards at international festivals. His work is screened around the world.