FiGa/Br Bows With ‘August Winds’

Locarno world preem fruit of regional cinema build in Brazil

LOCARNO – Driving still more into one of the building assets of Brazilian filmmaking –movies and new filmmakers from its regions outside Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo – L.A.-based sales-distribution-production company FiGa Films is launching its new FiGa/Br Brazilian cinema sales label with  “August Winds.”

Title world premieres in Locarno’s 2014 International Competition.

FiGa/Br has acquired international sales rights to “August Winds,” the label’s first title to play a major international festival, and FiGa’s fourth film with Mascaro.

Produced by Rachel Ellis at Recife-based Desvia Films, and set on Brazil’s North East coast, “August Winds” marks the fiction feature debut of Gabriel Mascaro, a distinguished documentary filmmaker best known for “Housemaids,” which played last year’s Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival.

As other recent Brazilian regional cinema, – “Swirl,” from Locarno short film jury member Helvecio Marins, based out of Belo Horizonte, and “Castanha,” from Porto Alegre  – “August Winds,” though Mascaro’s first fiction feature, still has documentary heft.

Set in a small fishing village, “Winds” turns on a young couple, Shirley and Jeison. As much new Brazilian regional cinema, “August Winds” is distinguished by its singular sense of place. The first stretches of “Winds” describe how they live and work: She drives a tractor, he works on a coconut plantation; they both dive for lobster and octopus; Shirley would like to become a tattoo artist.

“Winds” also establishes the wider parameters of their existence, such as their strong family bonds: She cares for her grandmother, his father browbeats him; the mixture of old and new: Jeison has proudly-displayed hi-fi deck and TV; Wendy still cooks on an open hearth.

Meanwhile, in August the tropical winds build, bringing a researcher who records the trade winds. As the sea rises, threatening to flood the village, Shirley and Jeison make a macabre discovery that gives them their first intimations of mortality.

“Though a fiction film, ‘August Winds’ has documentary moments and elements to it, “said FiGa Films founder Alex Garcia. “Winds” features an extended record of a prayer ceremony, the camera lens occasionally splatters with rain; some scenes are held long enough to attain a documentary significance.

“Brazil has finally become a ‘continent’ in itself, with so much diversity. We’ve always been attracted by the other Latin America, the one that most people don’t know, and not the typical postcard look we see all the time,” commented FiGa founder Sandro Fiorin.

He added: “This is a beautiful and magical story, that mixes reality and fiction. It is delicate and profound, in a very subtle way. For us, it is a huge honor to start FiGa/Br with a film from Gabriel, in International Competition at Locarno – the perfect place for us, the new label and ‘August Winds.”

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