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‘Bald Mountain’ to Close Rio

Fest unveils new sections, German Focus

MADRID – Co-produced by Warner Bros. and local movie giant Globo Filmes, Brazilian helmer Hector Dhalia’s awaited “Serra Pelada” (Bald Mountain), a hoped-for upscale Brazilian blockbuster for WB, will close the 15th Rio de Janeiro Intl. Film Festival on Oct. 9.

Set against a real-life, ‘80s Amazons gold rush which spawned the largest open-air gold mine in the world, “Bald Mountain” is a tale of greed, which destroys a friendship and the environment.

It marks a return to Portuguese filmmaking for Dhalia, who became one of Brazil’s hottest-young directors after helming “Drained” and “Adrift,” before taking on the 2012 English-language Amanda Seyfried starrer “Gone” for Summit, Lakeshore and Sidney Kimmel.

Pic is a cherished project for Wagner Moura, star of Jose Padilha’s “Elite Squad” and “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within,” the highest-grossing Brazilian film ever, who toplines and co-produces.

In a coup for Rio, “Mountain˝ will world-premiere at the festival.

With “Mountain” claiming its closing slot, and Venice closer “Amazonia” opening the 15th edition on Sept. 26, Rio will be bookended by two high-profile Brazilian movies, both set in the Amazon, both budgeted significantly above average Brazilian movie costs, which seek to appeal to audiences via novel production plays, rather than the broad comedy or biopic movies which have raked gold-dust of late in Brazil.

Dhalia will bring the curtain down on Latin America’s longest and – with Buenos Aires’ Bafici – largest festival. Rio sold tickets last year. In 2013, it will screen over 350 movies. Some fill out three new themed sidebars: Tec Section: Before the Virtual World Was Privacy, a seven-docu-feature section focusing on the erosion of privacy by high-tech Internet; Vanguard Expectation; and Famous Documentarians: Recent movies by the film form’s good and great –Frederick Wiseman, Nicolas Philbert, Errol Morris, Claude Lanzmann –  as well as directors who have made more targeted docu incursions, such as Rithy Panh, with Cannes Un Certain Regard winner, “The Missing Picture.”

Two French filmmakers will receive tributes: documentarian-turned-fiction director Claire Simon (“Ca Brule,” “God’s Offices”) and Alain Guiraudie, who broke out with “The King of Escape” and built on that reputation with “Stranger By the Lake,” a best director winner at Cannes Un Certain Regard.

Surrealistic filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger will attend for screenings of “Under Snow,” her latest movie, and 1981’s “Freak Orlando. Germany will be honored as Rio’s guest country with a Focus Germany and Berlin School Section. .

The Rio Festival runs Sept. 26- Oct.10, when it wraps with a prize ceremony.

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