By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Festival do Rio, the Rio International Film Festival, returns on Wednesday, September 24th for its 16th edition. It will run through Monday, October 8th and feature approximately 350 international and national films screening in thirty venues spread throughout the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Some of the most talked about international and national films of the year will be featured and separated in the festival’s categories that include; Panorama, Dox (Documentaries), Midnight (Docs, Horror and Music), Première Latina, and Première Brasil, the competitive section of the festival for Brazilian cinema.
This year, the Gay Exhibit section was eliminated. Those films will now be included within the other categories. Additionally, inspired by Berlin Film Festival’s Teddy Award, The Festival do Rio now will award gay-themed films with the “Felix prize.”
Opening this year’s Festival do Rio, will be director Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado’s “Salt of the Earth.” A documentary about co-director Juliano’s father, photographer Sebastião Salgado and his work capturing beautiful landscapes around the world and the people who in inhabit them, the film won the Jury Prize at the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
Other notable films in the documentary section of this year’s festival include Frederick Wiseman’s “National Gallery,” a behind the scenes look at world renowned The National Gallery in London; Steve James’s “Life Itself,” about the life of film critic Roger Ebert; Jennifer M. Kroot’s “To Be Takei,” which documents the life and work of actor George Takei and his relationship with his husband Brad; and Brain Knappenberger’s “The Internet’s Own Boy” about programmer and activist Aaron Swartz.
Two documentaries, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s “20,000 Days on Earth,” which gives a glimpse into singer-songwriter Nick Cave’s creative process; and Peter Strickland and Nick Fenton’s “Björk: Biophilia Live,” about Icelandic singer, Björk’s technologically innovative and groundbreaking live performances, are standouts in the Midnight Music category of the festival.
Notable films in the Panorama section, which showcases the best of international films, include; David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” the film adaptation of the best-selling book by Gillian Flynn and Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” a coming-of-age movie that was filmed over twelve years.
Also screening will be David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars” with Julianne Moore; Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner” about eccentric British painter: J.M.W. Turner; Gillian Robespierre’s “Obvious Child”; Ned Benson’s “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them” with Jessica Chastain; and Saverio Costanzo’s “Hungry Hearts” about an American, his Italian wife and troubles they face with their newborn son.
There is also Rolf De Heer’s “Charlie’s Country” about an aboriginal man who returns to the country in an attempt to reconnect with his ancestor’s way of life; David Zellner’s “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” about a Japanese woman who becomes obsessed with the American film “Fargo”; and Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Ida,” about a young girl in 1960s Poland who, on the verge of taking her vows as a nun, revisits family one last time only to learn a dark secret.
Additionally, the festival will honor Mexico in the Foco México (Focus Mexico), Clássicos Mexicanos (Classic Mexico), Première Latina sections of the festival, by screening dozens of classic cinema and new releases produced by the Mexican film industry. Included in the sections is “Cantinflas,” a film by Sebastian del Amo about the legendary Mexican actor Mario Moreno, professionally known as Cantinflas.
A master of comedy, sometimes referred to as the “Charlie Chaplin of Mexico,” Moreno starred in over fifty films during his career. “Cantinflas” is also Mexico’s submission for the 2015 Academy Awards’ Foreign Film category.
Several Mexican delegates will participate in this years RioMarket, a section of festival (running Sept. 24 – Oct. 2) that will feature seminars and workshops for and about the film industry.
“Mad Men” costume designer Janie Bryant and Andrew Meyer producer of films including “The Breakfast Club” and “Fried Green Tomatoes,” will also present workshops/master classes during this year’s RioMarket.
The Festvial do Rio 2014 will close with “Trash,” a feature film shot in Rio starring Wagner Moura, Rooney Mara, Martin Sheen and Selton Mello. Directed by Stephen Daldry, whose former films include “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “The Reader,” and “Billy Elliot,” “Trash” is a film adaption of Andy Mulligan’s 2010 novel “Trash” about three boys who find something in the dump, while picking through garbage, that the police and government don’t want them or anyone to see.
For the complete list of films, theaters, screening times, and additional festival programs and events see the festival’s official website here. Additionally for more information about scheduling and registering for RioMarket programs see here.