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By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – Rio’s film fanatics are spoiled for choice this month with two separate film festivals due to conclude their programs in the coming weeks. If this is the first you’ve heard about it, then luckily there is still some time to go screen some great films.

Micheal Moore previews his latest film at E Tudo Verdade this week, photo by Nicolas Genin/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

É Tudo Verdade (‘It’s All True’) international documentary film festival runs from April 8th – 18th, screening films in both São Paulo and Rio. This year’s program features 71 films from 27 countries, including premiers of eighteen new Brazilian documentaries, and exclusive previews of Michael Moore’s latest work, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”

The other festival, the ninth annual Mostra do Filme Livre (‘Exhibition of Independent Film’ or MFL,) is a celebration of independent filmmaking in Brazil which opened last month and is scheduled to continue until the April 30th. A slightly lower budget affair than its slicker, older cousin É Tudo Verdade, the MFL emits a more underground, do-it-yourself, arty vibe.

Founder Guilherme Whitaker explains, “MFL 2010 is a pioneering project in this country with the principle aim of showing the range of audiovisual production (in Brazil).” The only requirement is that films are made without the help of public funding. There are no restrictions on style, format, length or genre. “Each year the curator looks to select works which show the most distinctive interpretation of the audiovisual language.”

Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil where a number of screenings will take place, photo by marcusrg/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Out of an eclectic selection of 219 films there are still fourteen left to see. To view the complete schedule, visit www.mostradofilmelivre.com.

É Tudo Verdade has been running since 1996, and the audience has grown from just 2000 in the first year to over 25,000 last year. According to founder Amir Labaki, “The most sought-after screenings have been the Brazilian features and medium-length films, due to the fact (they) have never been seen before.”

Over the years the festival has seen a number of its stars go on to find fame and fortune. A notable example is Kevin MacDonald, who won an Oscar in 2000 for ‘One Day in September’ and then went on to make ‘Touching the Void’ and ‘The Last King of Scotland.’

Labaki believes that festival has helped to boost documentary film production both in Brazil and abroad by giving credibility to the genre and helping to “Overcome a certain stigma that weighed on documentaries.”

He says, “In previous years of the festival there were, on average, one or two Brazilian documentary releases per year and even less international documentaries. In the last two years, close to one third of Brazilian releases have been documentaries… in 2009 alone there were thirty releases.”

Festival highlights over the coming five days include the last chance to catch a preview of Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” on April 15th at 7:30PM, and a retrospective of the work of French filmmaker, Alan Cavalier, entitled “Portraits/Self Portraits,” which shows Thursday at 4PM and again on Sunday.

All screenings are free, to see complete listings for É Tudo Verdade, visit the official website at www.etudoverdade.com.br.

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