RIO DE JANEIRO — Helmer Silvio Da-Rin, 58, had just returned from the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival on Oct. 16, where he screened doc “Hercules 56,” when he was invited to head the Ministry of Culture’s Audiovisual Secretariat.
The first feature-length doc directed by Da-Rin, which was well-received by critics here, “Hercules 56” depicts the 1969 Rio kidnapping of U.S. Ambassador Charles Burke Elbrick by leftist armed groups that opposed the military regime in power.
Hercules 56 is the name of the airplane that carried the political prisoners exchanged by Elbrick out of Brazil.
Da-Rin is familiar with that period of Brazilian history — he was twice jailed for his film activities during the repressive regime from the late 1960s to mid-1980s.
Da-Rin resumed his professional activities in 1978, and has since directed 18 docs, most of them for TV and educational projects. Simultaneously, he carried out a successful career as a production sound mixer, working on more than 150 features.
“Local directors often have to wait four to five years between movies. As a production sound mixer, I have managed to be constantly on sets,” he says.
Da-Rin also has written “Espelho Partido” (Broken Mirror), a book on the history of docs that is used in local film schools.
But perhaps the feature that most qualified him for the Audiovisual Secretary position is his work at the organizational level. He was the president for two terms in 1980s of the powerful filmmakers association ABD, and in 2004 was named the representative of film sector workers in the government consulting body Superior Cinema Council. He is a consultant for the National Cinema Congress, a sector lobbying group.