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By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The selections for Première Brasil, the competitive section the Festival do Rio 2014, the Rio International Film Festival, feature some of the brightest stars and most noteworthy productions from the growing Brazilian film industry.

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André Ristum’s “O Outro Lado do Paraíso” (The Other Side of Paradise), is one of ten feature-length fiction films competing in the 2014 Première Brasil main competition, photo courtesy of Festival do Rio.

With films ranging from a dramatic western, “El Ardor,” set in the Amazon, to Daniel Aragão’s psycho-thriller “Prometo um dia deixar essa cidade” (I Swear I’ll Leave This Town), to “Favela Gay”, a documentary telling the stories of homosexual residents of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, the Première Brasil section, often considered the centerpiece of the Festival do Rio, has something to offer moviegoers from all walks of life.

“Première Brazil is considered one of the most anticipated parts of the Festival do Rio, not only by the public but mostly by the directors and producers of movies that have the opportunity to get in touch with audiovisual professionals from different parts of the world,” Ilda Santiago, Executive Director of the Festival do Rio, told The Rio Times.

“Already we have held editions of Première Brazil in New York, Washington, Lisbon and during the seventh year, Première Brazil took place in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, in Berlin, Germany.”

The Festival do Rio 2014 will be the 16th edition of the international film festival and will run from September 24th through October 8th. During that time, over 35 theaters throughout Rio de Janeiro will screen nearly 350 films. The Première Brasil section alone includes 69 films, of which 41 are feature length and 28 are short films.

Favela Gay_Foto Filme 3,
Rodrigo Felha’s “Favela Gay”, is one of ten feature length documentaries competing in the 2014 Première Brasil main competition, photo courtesy of Festival do Rio.

Movies in that section are separated into six categories; Competitive Fiction, Competitive Documentary, Hors Concours, New Trends, Show Portraits, and Expectations. Of those 69 productions, ten full-length fiction films, ten full-length documentaries and sixteen shorts will vie for the coveted Troféu Redentors (Redeemer Trophies), the awarded statuettes whose design is inspired by the famous Rio landmark, Cristo Redentor.

In addition to “Prometo um dia deixar essa cidade” (I Swear I’ll Leave This Town), standouts among the Competitive Fiction group this year include, Gregorio Graziosi’s “Obra” which also screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Also Chico Teixeira’s “Ausência” (Absence) is about the sexual awakening of a fourteen year-old boy dealing with his father’s abandonment; Fellipe Barbosa’s comedic coming-of-age film, “Casa Grande” (Big House), and André Ristum’s “O Outro Lado do Paraíso” (The Other Side of Paradise) which portrays the changing and troubled life of a trade union member during Brazil’s military dictatorship.

Kleber Mendonça Filho’s film, “O Som ao Redor”, took home Best Feature Film Fiction award during the 2012 Première Brasil ceremonies and the film later went on to become Brazil’s submission for the Academy Awards’ Foreign Film category.

Besides the Best Feature Film Fiction award, Troféu Redentors will be awarded for the categories; Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Direction of Fiction, Best Director of Documentary, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Photography, Best Feature Film Fiction Popular Vote, Best Feature Documentary Popular Vote and Best Short Film Popular.

Also featured in this year’s Hors Concours Fiction section of Première Brasil will be director Paulo Machline’s “Trinta”, a fictional portrait of famous Rio Carnavalesco (Carnival designer) Joãosinho Trinta.

When asked what he was most looking forward during this edition of Première Brasil, Santiago said; “We are eager to see the audience watching movies, participating in the popular vote and talking with directors and actors, since one of the goals of the festival is to bring more films, to the public and our guests.”

To see a complete list of the Première Brasil 2014 selections, go to the Festival do Rio website here and stay tuned to The Rio Times to see a preview of the complete Festival do Rio 2014 in next week’s online edition.

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