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Economy

In Brazil, Using Virtual Online Cash To Bankroll Young Filmmakers

The University of São Paulo is experimenting with “creative currency,” raising virtual cash that can be converted into Brazilian reais to fund culture projects that are very real indeed.

The real stuff (lucas lucas)
The real stuff (lucas lucas)

SÃO PAULO - After the 2008 financial crisis raised doubts about the current monetary system, the search for currency alternatives are gaining momentum.

At the University of São Paulo, a project has been launched to develop so-called "creative currency" – virtual monetary units used on the Internet, which can be converted into Brazilian reais. The ultimate goal is to use the converted cash to fund education and cultural projects, including several film productions.

The project received an initial 100,000 reais ($53,000) investment from Brazil Development Bank (BNDES). It includes a new fund that will gather money from participants and handle the initial exchange into the new "creative currency." The conversion rate has not yet been established yet.

With a wink, the fund has been dubbed the Imaginary Monetary Fund (IMF), and counts a starting base of 150,000 reais ($80,000). "To get started with the funding, we need 7 million reais ($3.7 million) over the next three years through a number of mechanisms, such as donations and investments', says Gilson Schwartz, professor at the University's School of Arts and Communication.

Gilson says there are already five movies that will be shot using resources from the new fund, with a total cost of some 3.5 million reais ($1.86 million).

"This kind of idea also helps to avoid waste," says Schwartz. "For example, a bakery may stipulate that, from a certain time every day, unsold breads will be sold using creative currency."

Beginning Sunday, a three-day conference on creative currencies will be held at Museum of Image and Sound in São Paulo. Three virtual currencies that have begun to circulate on an experimental basis will be presented during the event. For starters, the currencies have creative names: "wisdom" (for personal education development), "talent" (for practical activities, such as writing blogs), and "joy" (for entertainment).

Read more from Folha de S. Paulo

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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