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5th Reel Brazil Film Festival

Date: Monday 10 March 2015

5th Reel Brazil Film Festival

Brazil, in the business of Football and Cinema.

Since the start of 2002, with the feature City of God (Fernando Meirelles), Brazilian films have gone from strength to strength on the international film festival circuit. Brazilian specific film festivals having been popping-up all over the world. In New Zealand, the 5th Reel Brazil Film Festival seems to have swayed through its toddler years and is framing a riveting selection of films and special events such as the Corporate Opening Night Galas, the Reel Brazil Festas and the Mini-Market.

The hosting of the FIFA World Cup this year, followed by the Olympics Games in 2016, has increased international interest not only for the games, but for all things Brazilian. So for those of us who can't make it to the games, Reel Brazil promises to offer a taste of Brazilian culture on and off screen.

Brazilian expat and film festival director, Leandro Cavalcanti, has put together a programme that captures the different nuances of a country that seems to be as rich and diverse in film as it is in music. In April/May 2014, Reel Brazil is doing it’s run and sunny Nelson joins Auckland & Wellington on their film festival roadie.

This year’s award-winning film selection includes 10 films with a mix of features, documentaries and animations. In an effort to bring the New Zealand and Brazilian film worlds together, opening every Brazilian film will be a New Zealand short film, curated by the New Zealand Film Commission.

The range of topic matter is as diverse as usual. From stories about an indigenous warrior who transverse six centuries fighting against injustice through to a fast-cut, epic tale of friendship and greed set in a hell-on-earth open pit mine; a mesmerizing story of a Brazilian woman, who travels to New York in search of her older sister and unanswered questions’ and the experience of being in a Brazilian football stadium transported to the big screen where the flaming passion of football fanatics soars through the theatre.

“People associate Brazil with music, partying, football - basically having fun. The doco Fla X Flu, for example, about the rivalry between the two largest football clubs in Brazil, should “ignite a bit of Brazilian spirit in everybody. But there are also many other inspiring stories with which New Zealanders will relate to, that depict universal themes of struggle, self discovery and achievement” comments Leandro.

The Reel Brazil Corporate Opening Night, a now well established event will be a gala affair. The event includes the premier of a recent Brazilian film and takes place in all 3 cities under the patronage of the Brazilian Ambassador to New Zealand. It connects people and businesses that have business interest and a flare for Latin America. It provides the opportunity for businesses and film enthusiasts alike to mix and mingle with other community and business leaders, to the sound of live Brazilian music, accompanied by gourmet canapés and traditional cocktails.

“Brazil releases an average of 80 feature films and documentaries yearly – almost 1/3 of which are made in co-production with other countries. On top of the cultural exchange and promotional benefits, there are great economic opportunities for New Zealanders here.” - Comments Cavalcanti.

According to a study done by Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2012-2016 - released by PWC last year - the Brazilian film market, the largest in Latin America, has a yearly growth rate of 6.7%. By end of 2016, it’s estimated that it will have a turnaround of US$ 2,3 billion.

For the Festival Director, what makes an event successful is having the right team of people, and dosing hard work with fun. ”It’s amazing to look back and think that in the first year (2009) it was a one man operation with fourteen film sessions over four days. Now our core team is made up of nine people, mainly volunteers, and the festival takes place in three cities, screens one hundred film sessions and spans over a total of 33 days!”

So whether you are into football, music, or quality cinema, Reel Brazil has something for you! More information is available via their website:

Festival dates are:

Auckland: 24 April - 4 May - Rialto Cinema Newmarket
Wellington: 08 - 18 May - Paramount Cinema, Wellington
Nelson: 21 - 25 May - Suter Cinema, Nelson

Festival Highlights - full programme will be confirmed by 31 March.

Rio 2096 - A Story of Love and Fury | Animation, Sci-FI | 2013 | Dir: Luiz Bolognesi
Winner of the 2013 top award from the largest animation film festival on the globe (Annecy International Animated Film Festival, France), Rio 2096 – A Story of Love and Fury revolves around the love between Janaína and an Indian warrior who, upon dying, takes the form of a bird. For over six centuries, the couple’s story flourishes, passing through four phases of Brazilian history: colonization, slavery, military regime and the future (the year 2096), when a war over water takes place in Rio de Janeiro. “As we glimpse into a dystopian vision of Rio, our hero reflects on the potent message of his journey: to live without knowing the past is to live in the dark. Bolognesi's debut feature is his own attempt to combat historical myopia.” - Zach Udko, Huffington Post

Bald Mountain | Action, Drama | 2013 | 100mins | Dir: Heitor Dhalia
Made famous by the black-and-white images taken by photographer Sebastiao Salgado in 1986, the Brazilian gold rush to Serra Pelada, southeast of the Amazon forest, saw approximately 120,000 people chasing their dreams of wealth. “Syncopated in its editing, with a Scorsese-like voice over. Bald Mountain is “a fast-cut, epic tale of friendship and greed set in the early ‘80s Amazon at one of the biggest hell-on-earth open pit mines in the world” - John Hopewell, Variety

Elena | Documentary | 2012 | 82 min | Dir: Petra Costa
- A young Brazilian woman, travels to New York with the same dream as her mother, to become a movie actress. She leaves behind her childhood spent in hiding during the years of the military dictatorship and Petra, her seven year old sister. Two decades later, Petra also becomes an actress and goes to New York in search of Elena. “A rare cinematic experience. A film that generates 60 insights a minute”- Fernando Meirelles, City of God

FLA x FLU | Documentary, Football | 2013 | 85 min | Dir: Renato Terra
More than a film about soccer, this is doco is about passion made for all soccer fans. With statements from football stars like Zico and Romário, among other rabid fans, the film invites the viewer to share in one of the Brazilian footballs most charming feuds - the rivalry between two of the largest football clubs in Brazil: Flamengo (Fla) and Fluminense (Flu). Aside from rescuing historical footage and memorable football matches, Fla x Flu alternates between factual and personal statements from both teams, giving rise to provocations, jokes and emotions.

Notes to editors:
History of Reel Brazil Film Festival:
2009 First year, films shown at Te Papa, tribute to the 100th birthday of Carmen Miranda.
800 people attended over four days. Included corporate screening on opening night, and a separate Brazilian party.
2010 Festival expanded to become the largest Brazilian event in New Zealand.
Corporate Opening Night and parties in Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown.
2011 3rd Reel Brazil - took place during the Rugby World as an alternative to the games. The moto was: “Passion, Drama, Colour! But hey, this isn’t Rugby...” Biggest annual Brazilian event in NZ! Corporate Opening Night and parties in Wellington and Auckland.
2013 4th Reel Brazil - Took place in Auckland and Wellington. Festival moto: “ See Brazil through a different lens” Corporate Opening Night in Auckland in association with Auckland Chamber of Commerce. Reel Brazil Festa in Wellington was also the album release of the band: Latinaotearoa.

Dates for Reel Brazil 2014
Auckland: 24 April - 4 May - Rialto Cinema Newmarket
Wellington: 08 - 18 May - Paramount Cinema, Wellington
Nelson: 21 - 25 May - Suter Cinema, Nelson

About Leandro Cavalcanti
Leandro is the Executive Director for Reel Brazil and was born in Minas Gerais, Brazil. He spent his early childhood living in London, moved to New Zealand in 2000 and spent 2007 – 2009 living in Toronto, where he helped set-up a Brazilian film festival. In parallel with running the film festival, he is working part-time as a Programme Coordinator for the Social Housing Reform Programme at the Ministry of Social Development in Wellington.

During his decade living in New Zealand, Leandro spent 4 years working for the Embassy of Brazil. The Reel Brazil Film Festival is his initiative, drawing together his passion for films, business development, Brazil and New Zealand. He works as a volunteer and contracts to different organisations throughout the year. He also works as a business facilitator helping New Zealand companies break into the Brazilian market, and in 2011 he contracted to the NZ International Film Festival as the National Outreach Coordinator. In 2012 - 2013 he was contracted to work for Transpower as a Project Analyst on Asset Risk Management, while continuing to run Reel Brazil.

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