By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL- As the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup draws closer, American Mark Lassise travels to each of the six host cities exploring their preparations for the mega-event by documenting his journeys for the new show “Olhar Estrangeiro” (“A Foreigner’s Perspective”).
Airing as part of SporTV’s Tá na Área on Thursday nights, the show examines not only the infrastructural progress of the cities and their respective stadiums, but also their various cultural points-of-interest.
Lassise, a producer and actor who moved to Brazil in 2009, is filming two episodes per city and so far has traveled to Salvador and Fortaleza. Currently he is filming in the capital and largest city in the state of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte.
“‘Olhar Estrangeiro’ was basically born out of what I started to do when I first came here and that was a show ‘American in Brazil.’ It was just me with a camera showing the fun things for gringos (foreigners) to do around Rio,” Lassise told The Rio Times. “A neighbor, who was a director, saw what I was doing and thought it might be good for one of his sports shows with the idea centering around football.”
The fun that Lassise has while exploring is evident in the debut Salvador episodes. They feature Lassise dealing with locals as he attempts to make his way around the city. He speaks only English while navigating from the airport, to the hotel and to a game at Salvador’s Fonte Nova Stadium.
“[“Olhar Estrangeiro”] has a specific base to it,” Lassise explained. “The hope is to show the gringo’s (foreigner’s) experience of the games and to see how the cities will receive them. I want to see what kind of responses I get everywhere from the service industry, to the police, to the stadiums… everything that others will encounter during the games.”
“Olhar Estrangeiro” is produced by Tchau For Now Productions, a company created by Lassise along with director/editor Leo Oliveira. With previous work in the political spectrum, Oliveira was the chief video editor on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s campaign for office.
Together Oliveira and Lassise built a strong corporate video presence for Tchau For Now by producing live feeds for Bloomberg and Globo. They have also covered the Rio Gas Forum, political events, sporting events by Nike and cultural sustainability conferences including Rio+20 and Virada Digital.
The content for “Olhar Estrangeiro” is created by Creative Concept Media, a Brazilian company co-owned by musician/editor Allan Baltar and Lassise. Baltar began working with Tchau for Now Productions during the Rio+20 conference and together with Lassise began developing original programming in September 2012.
“The companies [Tchau For Now and Creative Concept Media] work as partners and will grow side by side,” Lassise added. “We are a team and exist to provide good service, creative content and opportunity for independent Brazilian professionals that have talent and believe in what we are doing.”
Also in the works from the partner companies is a show entitled, Fortuna. It will feature a group of Brazilian wing-suit BASE jumpers, that will jump off of thirteen different mountain peaks located in eight states. “I’m actually getting to do what I envisioned four years ago,” said Lassise. “I am taking my American in Brazil show around to the different cities and exploring different cultures while having fun everywhere.”