Having survived Brazil’s deep political change and several economical crises, as well as the local film industry’s temporary collapse, Sao Paulo Intl. Film Fest celebrates its 32nd anniversary this October as one of the major cultural events in South America’s largest city.

The fest will screen 250 to 300 features on 22 screens and is expected to sell about 220,000 tickets, mostly to resident Paulistas. As in past editions, the audience will play the key role in the fest’s award distribution system: During the fest’s first week, moviegoers will vote for the short list of pics for the traditional competition between directors on their first or second features. An international jury, which this year will include Iranian helmer Samira Makhmalbaf, picks the winners of the Sao Paulo Flag Award. The fest also distributes audience kudos for pics not included in the main competition.

Fest general director Leon Cakoff will continue to produce a collective feature composed of shorts directed by helmers who attend the event. The first short, Portuguese vet helmer Manoel de Oliveira’s “Do visivel ao invisivel” (Invisible World), starring Cakoff himself, recently opened in Venice. A similar fest collective feature, docu “Welcome to Sao Paulo,” comprising shorts by 13 helmers such as Israeli Amos Gitai, American Jim McBride and Australian Phillip Noyce, opened in 2004.

“Director Hector Babenco will shoot his short this year. We already have the shorts of several directors, such as Guy Maddin from Canada, Fernando Solanas from Argentina and Brazilian Evaldo Mocarzel, which are in post-production,” Cakoff said.

This year’s main retrospective is dedicated to the work of Japanese helmer Kihachi Okamoto, who died in 2005. The director’s widow and producer, Mineko Okamoto, will attend the fest to present 14 of his pics.

The fest’s seminar and market are in their fifth edition this year. Among the highlights are the pitching sessions with international buyers and local producers, co-sponsored by Cinema do Brasil, a government-backed program aimed at stimulating the exportation of Brazilian pics in foreign markets and co-production involving local and foreign companies. Cinema do Brasil will sponsor the buyers’ trip to Sao Paulo.


What: Sao Paulo Intl. Film Festival

When: Oct. 17-30

Where: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Web: mostra.org