A Colônia Luxemburguesa
by Dominique Santana, Centre National de l’Audiovisuel
Deep down in the wilderness of Brazil’s tropical forest stands an enormous steel empire, meticulously crafted by the mysterious Colônia Luxemburguesa.
One hundred years ago, the Luxembourg-based steel giant Arbed – today ArcelorMittal – inaugurated its Brazilian subsidiary called Belgo Mineira in the heart of Minas Gerais. At that time, the lack of qualified workforce provoked a massive movement of hundreds of Luxembourgish migrants to Brazil in order to erect a colossal steel plant and its surrounding industrial city, giving birth to the cradle of the Brazilian steel industry.
While searching for her own identity, Luxembourg-Brazilian historian and filmmaker Dominique makes a fateful discovery as she comes across João Monlevade, an incredible and oddly familiar tropical version of the industrial south of Luxembourg she grew up in. This staggering revelation pulls her into a fascinating quest behind the curtains of the mythical stories of the Colônia Luxemburguesa. What is this Colônia like? Was it a success story of integration into the Brazilian society – a success story at all?
This transmedia project drags us into the nucleus of the Colônia Luxemburguesa and invites us to unearth one century of shared industrial, cultural and social heritage together. It is an interactive experience and discovery journey in which, navigating between myth and history, we are confronted with many stories told from various angles and across different platforms. What is behind Belgo Mineira’s corporate storytelling? Are we able to find truth in the midst of all those divergent stories?