New London-Rio Film Partnership

London and Rio: New Partnership To Encourage Exchange In Film-Making

While the 64th edition of Cannes Film Festival, which closed on Sunday, will no doubt be remembered by most as the year in which outspoken Danish director Lars von Trier was declared a persona non grata after making some ill-judged comments about Hitler; for Brazilian film-goers and industry insiders, the 2011 festival will stand out for two altogether happier reasons: The Tree of Life, the Terrence Malick feature which won the Palm d’ Or this year was edited by Brazil’s very own Daniel Rezende, editor of Elite Squad and the Oscar nominated City of God; and the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro was also part of an important announcement as Film London and Filme Rio – Rio Film Commission, signed a City to City Agreement, a new partnership aimed at developing the exchange of trade, talent and culture within their film industries.

This dynamic collaboration sees the organisations Film London and Filme Rio – Rio Film Commission (a joint venture by the State Government of Rio de Janeiro and Rio’s City Hall) come together not only as a way to boost film business in their countries but also to encourage more film-makers to work between the two continents. Internationally renowned Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles already has close ties with London, his film The Constant Gardener was shot in the UK capital and London locations will appear in his new film 360, currently in production and which will star Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law and Rachel Weisz. The director was also in London last year to attend the opening night of the second Inffinito Brazilian Film Festival of London (of which he is also a curator) held at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

Both the Brazilian Film Festival in London and Rio’s International Film Festival have played an important part in developing the relationships between the British and Brazilian film industries through their programming and co-production markets. While the London festival launched its first English edition MarketPlace last year, Ilda Santiago, Rio’s film festival director has continually stressed the importance of co-production, with the Rio Market running alongside the film festival. In 1998 and 2008 Rio International Film Festival focussed its special section on British films, and the 2008 Focus UK featured the work of Derek Jarman and Mike Leigh amongst other British directors. Santiago stressed that her aim in putting together these sections was not just to showcase British talent but also as a way to foster deeper relations between the two countries’ film-makers.

One British director with a long-standing interest in the Brazilian city is Julien Temple, who will travel to Rio in September of this year to shoot his new film Children of the Revolution. The film will look at the musical, social, political, cultural and technical revolutions that have taken place in Rio since the 1970s, the first legendary Rock in Rio Festival in 1985, and today; a period in which the country has transitioned from being an oppressive military dictatorship to one of the most open, vibrant and progressive democracies on the planet.

“Since visiting Rio with the Sex Pistols for The Great Rock and Roll Swindle in the late 70s I’ve always wanted to make a film about the city and now as it finally prepares to take its rightful place on the world stage that time has finally come,” says Temple. “Brazil’s extraordinary journey from third world dictatorship to Olympic host country demands to be told.  Visually Rio is a film-maker’s gold mine and through its music and the people who make it, both the soul of the city and its unique destiny finds its ultimate expression.”

The City to City Agreement also comes as London prepares to pass on to Rio de Janeiro the role of hosting the Olympic Games in 2016, following the London Games in 2012. While the focus of the partnership will be to share ideas and best practice on domestic and international film production, there will also be collaboration on how the film industries of these two Olympic host cities can best exploit the unique opportunity this offers. This will range from how to manage the logistics of filming during an Olympic Games to using film to capitalise on tourism opportunities. Not only that, but the city of Rio itself will take the spotlight as a new film Rio, I Love You is set to begin development and is due to include 10 short segments by directors such as Fernando Meirelles, José Padilha and and the Mexican Guillermo Arriaga, each of which will focus on an encounter of love in a different neighbourhood of the city. It seems that with so many possibilities opening up for Brazilian and British film-makers alike, there couldn’t be a better time to work together.

by Sofia Serbin de Skalon

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