Fernanda Pessoa
Zona Árida
Part of
Zona Árida

Zona Árida

Fernanda Pessoa

76 min.
English and Portuguese
Subtitles: Catalan, Spanish and English

Mesa, in the middle of the Arizona desert, is considered the most conservative city in the USA.


Fernanda Pessoa
Executive Production
Raiane Rodrigues
Daniel Turin, Fernando Henna, Henrique Chiurciu
Antônio Gonçalves Junior, Fernanda Pessoa
Pedro Santiago
Film Editor
Germando de Oliveira, Mari Moraga

Mesa, in the middle of the Arizona desert, is considered the most conservative city in the USA. A few months before 9/11, director Fernanda Pessoa, aged 15, arrived there as an exchange student. Fifteen years later, she returns to demystify that experience and challenge the values of the American way of life.

Through the photographs and experiences Fernanda rescues from her teenage years in the US, which contrast with the current images of the environments she frequented and the interviews she conducts with her old acquaintances, the director establishes an internal dialogue with young Fernanda, the student. Soon, the bedazzlement for an American lifestyle built on her imagination through Hollywood films fades away and disappoints as she becomes aware of her immigrant status as she stumbles upon prejudice from others. Now, years later, words like racism, sexism, and xenophobia resonate in her memories and experiences, and she is able to confront and question a society that, 15 years later, still lives in an arid area where walls are erected to preserve traditional values flawed with imperfections.

About the direction

Fernanda Pessoa


Fernanda Pessoa is a filmmaker and visual artist who works mainly with documentary cinema and video...

Awards and festivals

Honorable Mention · Dok Leipzig
Germany, 2019
Fernanda Pessoa
Zona Árida
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