'Famous and the Dead' nabs feature jury prize

RIO DE JANEIRO — Latin America’s largest sprocket opera, the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival wrapped Oct. 8 with Esmir Filho’s debut pic “The Famous and the Dead” nabbing the top Redeemer feature jury prize, as well as the Fipresci kudo.

Sara Silveira’s Dezenove- produced pic is centered on a teenage Bob Dylan fan, who lives in a small town in Southern Brazil and connects with the world via the Internet.

Marcelo Gomes and Karim Ainouz got the helmer kudo for poetic “I Travel Because I Have to, I Come Back Because I Love You.” Chico Diaz and Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos shared the actor award for their performances on Eliane Caffe’s “The Midday Sun.” The jury honored Nanda Costa for Sandra Werneck’s “Stolen Dreams” that also received the aud prize. Tatiana Issa’s and Raphael Alvarez’s “Dzi Croquettes” and Ana Maria Magalhaes’ “Reidy, Building Utopia” shared the doc kudo.

Once again a huge viewer turnout was the fest’s highlight. During 15 days, they watched more than 300 features in 40 venues, including free, outdoor screenings in 10 public squares, a novelty designed by fest sponsor, the Rio government’s film financer RioFilme to attract blue-collar moviegoers.

“For the first time, the festival really had a presence citywide,” says fest co-general director Ilda Santiago. “Now that the whole world is looking at Rio, due to the successful 2016 Summer Olympics bid, the expansion of our festival and market strengthens the city’s position as the main audiovisual center in Latin America.”

In conjunction with the Year of France in Brazil, the fest focused on French cinema with Jeanne Moreau and Agnes Varda in attendance.

The fest’s RioMarket, the country’s most important film business meeting and seminar, featured workshops with composer Chris Newman, screenwriter Marc Norman and Carlos Saldanha, director of “Ice Age 3.”

During the fest, it was announced that helmers Fernando Meirelles and Jose Padilha have boarded collected feature “Rio, I Love You,” from the producers of “New York, I Love You” and “Paris, Je t’aime.”

Also during the fest, Woody Allen’s producers Stephen Tenenbaum and Letty Aronson met with local authorities to negotiate the helmer’s 2011 project, that would use Rio as a setting as “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” used Barcelona.

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