RIO DE JANEIRO — Sidneia Lusia da Silva was only 12 when she first shocked the sexist fishermen hamlet of Icapui, on the coast of Ceara state, in Northeastern Brazil, by joining her father on his fragile boat and becoming the first fisherwoman in the region.

Last year, Silva not managed to make a documentary video about her life, but she was interviewed on one of the most popular talk shows on national TV.

“I just refuse to follow the destiny of girls (in small villages): get pregnant at 15, have a bunch of kids and be a maid for a husband,” says Silva, 27, director of “Uma pescadora rara no literal do Ceara” (A rare fisherwoman on the coast of Ceara). “I want to prove a woman can have an independent life.”

Silva was one of the 40 participants of the Revelando os Brasis (Revealing Brazils) Project, in which the government funded the training of inhabitants of small villages and the production of their short-length doc and fiction videos.

The first videos were finished in May 2005, and now a commission of film/TV industry members is selecting a new group for the second edition of the project, which is co-organized by the Ministry of Culture and nonprofit organization Marlin Azul.

As in the first edition, anyone over 18 years old and living in villages with less than 20,000 inhabitants can submit a true or fictional story for a video.

Those selected receive 10 days of training in Rio for scriptwriting, production and camera work. Participants work with professionals from their area to shoot and edit the shorts.

So far, the videos have screened in local fests and secured distribution on pay TV through local educational net Canal Futura. Outdoor screenings of the videos will also be held in the hamlets where they were lensed.

“The videos express the real face of deep Brazil. We are developing new talent countrywide,” says Marlin Azul’s exec director Beatriz Lindenberg.

Documaker Artur Gomes dos Santos, 51, made “Tropeiros,” about the historical role of merchants who crossed his Pernambuco state on the back of mules. He’d like to make docs professionally, but admits a career change would be tough at his age.

Silva has also plans to make a second doc, focusing on her 78-year-old grandmother, who is said to have religious healing power.

In the meantime, she continues to wake up at 4:30 ayem and sail three hours into the Atlantic Ocean to fish.