Goifman on ‘Periscope,’ Financing Abstract Films in Brazil

Kiko Goifman, Rio film Fest

'Periscope' takes world bow at Rio

A filmmaker feted for his documentary efforts worldwide, Kiko Goifman is among the helmers who bring a world premiering feature to Rio — this time, for his freshman fiction debut. “Periscopio” (“Periscope”) is a surrealist drama that takes on a cross-generational relationship between an elderly man and his caregiver.

Goifman last screened a project at Rio in 2011, when his “Look At Me Again” earned a special jury prize and went on to screen at the Berlin fest in 2012.

In between catching other filmmakers’ efforts — he’s most excited for “Tatuagem” and “The Man of the Crowd” — and enjoying the company of “cariocas friends,” Goifman spoke with Variety about the blurred line between fact and fiction and the challenges of financing an art house film in the Brazilian market.

What compelled you to make this film?

I decided to make this film because I want to think about loneliness. It is a universal issue but handled here in a very peculiar context. In Brazil there is a kind of confusion between people who work at a house and [the family that lives there, which can give way to perversities].

Much of your background is in documentaries. Why did you decide to make a fiction feature this time around?

In fact, I don’t believe in this distinction between fiction and documentary. I simply believe that we make films. I used a lot of narrative elements like suspense and atmosphere in my documentaries. Then, I decided to work in an opposite way; I used a lot of elements of documentary to make a fiction film. I used actors, but I believe in the idea of chance and I believe there is a kind of real sensation in “Periscope.”

Who is your target audience for this film, Brazilian viewers or the larger global audience?

Unfortunately, I can’t expect a million people to see this film. It is a low budget film with a low budget for distribution. But maybe it can be a cult film. Of course, we want viewers and we hope the film can interest a lot of people.

What sorts of projects are getting the most interest in Brazil right now?

Commercially? Comedies.

Do you believe the Brazilian film industry differs from those of other South American countries? How so?

As a director, I don’t actually know a lot about the industry. But when you think about Argentina, for instance, they have a lot of movie theaters there. In Brazil, we have few movie theaters and it is a problem for a country as big as this one.

What sort of challenges do you see Brazilian filmmakers facing today? Did you face specific challenges with the making of “Periscope?”

Making films is always a job that’s full of challenges. In my case, my projects are very experimental, sometimes minimalist and that can make it difficult to finance a film. Sponsors make a curious face when you say to them, ‘Suddenly, a periscope appears in the floor the house.’

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