Almodovar opens Rio fest

'Amen,' 'Possession,' 'Shanghai Spell' to unspool

RIO DE JANEIRO — Pedro Almodovar’s “Talk to Her” will open the fourth Rio de Janeiro Intl. Film Festival, Latin America’s largest film confab, which unspools Sept. 26-Oct. 10.

Fest co-executive director Ilda Santiago expects a big public turnout, predicting a 15% increase in ticket sales this year over the 2001 admissions of about 150,000. Approximately 400 pics from around the world, of which some 300 are making their Brazilian bows, will be screened in 25 theaters around the city over the course of the 15-day fest. Special guests include helmers Costa-Gavras, who will present “Amen,” Neil Labute with “Possession” and Fernando Trueba with “The Shanghai Spell.”

Seven local features, among them Jose Joffily’s “Two Lost in a Dirty Night,” Karim Ainouz’s “Madame Sata,” Murilo Salles’ “Que Sera Sera” and Domingos Oliveira’s “Breaking Up” are competing for a $67,000 prize, determined by the public.

The public also votes for the best local docu, which will receive a $34,000 award. The 2002 edition includes a special selection of German cinema and the screenings of 25 Latin American productions (Spanish-lingo films from the region are rarely distributed in Brazil).

Film business seminars and workshops will be held in the beachfront Copacabana Palace, and will focus on building a film industry in Latin America. Participants include reps from Columbia TriStar, Warner Bros., U.K.’s the Script Factory, Buena Vista Argentina and the MPAA.

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