By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The film “Eden” brings Brazilian national recognition to British expatriate Jan Roldanus and his production company GreenGo Films this year. Last Friday, October 5th, their first feature film, which was selected for competition in Premiere Brasil, screened at the 2012 Rio International Film Festival, and proved to be a success.
Directed by Bruno Safadi, Eden takes a critical look at the evangelical church’s rise and place in contemporary Brazil through surreal and dreamlike turns and power struggles. “I think Eden is a very strong piece of work by a highly talented young director” said Roldanus.
Starring Leandra Leal (of “Estamos Juntos” and the recently concluded Globo novela “Cheias de Charme”) as a pregnant woman who after the brutal murder of her husband played by André Ramiro (of “Tropa de Elite 2″) is taken to the Evangelical Church of Eden by her brother played by Julio Andrade (of “O Homem que Copiava”). There she meets Pastor Naldo (Joao Miguel) and begins to embrace the church while questioning what it might want from her.
Roldanus continues, “with Eden, he [Safadi] wanted to make a film about Rio, the city in which he was born and to tell a universal story through a particular situation with a certain sense of poetry. The result is very strong and it deals with issues rarely confronted in Brazilian cinema.”
No stranger to film production, Roldanus, begin his career at HandMade Films in 1996, staying for five years and becoming head of development before going on to a three-year stint at TalkBack Productions. Then in 2004 he made the move to Brazil.
“I’ve run a production service business here since then and produced mainly TV commercials, TV shows and documentaries for overseas companies, chiefly from the U.S. and the UK. Throughout this time I’ve been looking for film projects to produce,” Roldanus told The Rio Times. “Eden is our second ‘nacional’ production and the first feature length film.”
The eleven other films vying for best ficton feature are: Luciano Moura’s “A Busca” (“Father’s Chair”), Bernard Attal’s “A Coleção Invisível” (“The Invisible Collection”), Sérgio Andrade’s “A Floresta de Jonathas” (“Jonathas’ Forest”), Juliana Reis’ “Disparos” (“AE – AutoExposure”), Raphael Vieira’s “Dores de Amores” (“Love Aches”), Philippe Barcinsky’s “Entre Vales” (“Between Valleys”), Marcos Bernstein’s “Meu Pé de Laranja Lima” (“My Sweet Orange Tree”), José Eduardo Belmonte’s “O Gorila” (“The Gorilla”), Kleber Mendonça Filho’s “O Som ao Redor” (“Neighbouring Sounds”),Domingos Oliveira’s “Primeiro Dia de um Ano Qualquer” (“First Day, Any Year”) and Luiz Bolognesi’s “Uma História de Amor e Fúria” (“Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury”).
“I’ve really enjoyed the festival and tried to see as many new Brazilian films as possible. I think every year the quality and variety of films only increases,” said Roldanus. “So the future here is very exciting.”
The biggest film festival in South America, Festival do Rio 2012 (Rio International Film Festival), started its 14th edition on Thursday, September 27th and will continue until October 11th. More than thirty venues play over 400 films that showcase the best of contemporary Brazilian cinema as well as the brightest offerings of filmmakers from over sixty different countries.