by Joe Sousa
color, 45 min, 2006
English and Portuguese versions on one DVD
Non-profit and K-12 pricing also available
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The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament is a four-day extravaganza that attracts crowds of up to 200,000 to the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts. This documentary film takes viewers on a journey from the excitement of the modern feast to the very roots of the Catholic celebration on the beautiful Portuguese island of Madeira. Along the way, Festa examines the surprising differences between the "old world" and "new world" feasts as well as the challenges that organizers on both sides of the Atlantic face in the midst of a rapidly modernizing world and changing cultural values.
In the end, this is a simple story about the power of tradition, the bonds of family, and the contributions of immigrant communities to both their new home and to the land that they left behind.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards Society for Visual Anthropology/American Anthropological Association Conference, San Francisco, 2008