“I seem to exist” is a feature documentary, focused on the life and works of composer João MacDowell. The story is narrated in first person and complemented by interviews with important personalities from the heyday of the Brazilian capital’s cultural scene. The film portrays a path that starts with a dream and draws the arc of a career spanning from experimental, electronic based, music to the maturity of serious classic composition. It’s spoken in Portuguese and subtitled in English.

Varied footage from concerts and music videos, as well as photos and scenes from the Brazilian opera Tamanduá (The Anteater) illustrate the documentary. There is an underlying thread that reinforces the importance of personal effort, musical literacy and support for serious musical education in school systems.

Joao MacDowell was an important character in Brasilia’s exciting music scene of the 80s, a time when the daring artists of the new capital challenged the cultural monopoly of both of Brazil’s biggest metropolises: Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. His first band, Tonton Macoute, changed paradigms in Brazilian music forever. Their signature sound dispensed with the regular drum set and pioneered the fusion of electronics with native rhythms and ambient sounds.

After that, the artist developed a career as music producer and soundtrack composer, releasing four solo albums of popular music before launching his more recent works in contemporary classical music.

The film “I Seem to Exist” explores this story in detail, exposing the context in which the musical art of Joao MacDowell came into being. The overwhelming influence of the modern architecture of the new capital and the excitement of the first generation of artists in Brasilia all come to play a part in the documentary. It’s a story that registers the strong will of unusual teenagers who would not accept being mere consumers and decided to create their own art.

About the filmmaker:
Mario Salimon is a Brazilian journalist and musician, with a career spanning 25 years and covering many professional fields. He started out as assistant to the iconic documentary director Vladimir Carvalho and went on to work as a reporter and critic, writing about art, music and cinema. Salimon has also worked as international consultant to entities such as UNICEF, UNESCO, IICA and UNDCP. He has written two books and produced over thirty films, ranging from institutional products to signature documentaries, such as “Gibués”, dealing with desertification of rural areas in the state of Piauí. Salimon teaches post graduation courses on organizational communication and strategies for information and knowledge management systems. He has also been a musician for more than 25 years, fronting 15 bands in Brasilia, has released two albums and has a CD and a DVD in the making. Mario Salimon is regarded as one of the foremost Jazz and Blues singers from the Brazilian capital.