By Anita Kirpalani, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – From October 28th to November 7th, Rio once again becomes a center point of cinema. This time, long features have given way to a shorter format with the twentieth edition of the Festival Internacional de Curtas de Rio do Janeiro – Curtas Cinema, Rio’s international short film festival.

Recife Frio in the Competição Nacional, photo provided by Curta Cinema.

Curtas Cinema is one of the most important Brazilian festivals dedicated to the format, and the only festival in which the prize pool qualifies to compete for the Oscars. 400 movies, grouped under a number of different sections will be shown for free in four of Rio’s cinemas: Odeon, Caixa Cultural, Oi Futuro and Ponto Cine.

Two sections feature movies selected for the Competição Internacional (International Competition) with 41 films from 24 countries; and Competição Nacional (National Competition) with 33 movies from seven Brazilian states.

Three other sections focus more on Latin-American cinema with a clear emphasis on Rio. Première Carioca (Rio Premières) is a tradition of the festival with five unreleased movies from Rio. Panorama Carioca, with twenty shorts, gives a specific space to the Cidade Maravilhosa, which makes up thirty percent of the festival’s content. With Panorama Latino-Americano (Latin American Panorama) the festival will be dedicating for the first time a section to Latin-American films. There will be fifteen films from seven countries with a preponderance of Argentinean movies.

Curtas Cinema also offers a number of special programs such as Territórios e Fronteiras (Territories and Borders) that focus on Brazilian cinema made abroad, or Infantil e Jovem (children and youngsters), one of the festival’s biggest programs that features movies for children and teenagers. Following its tradition of focusing on one a country or region, this year Foco Chile (Focus Chile) will be honoring Chilean cinema.

Excerpt of the sky.. from Ken Jacobs' retrospective, photo provided by Curta Cinema.

This year is a special edition since the festival is celebrating its twentieth anniversary with a retrospective of the best shorts shown in the past twenty years – a good way to revisit old classics. A number of other retrospectives of famous Brazilians Carlosmagno Rodriguez, Eder Santos, David Neves, and the American experimental film-maker Ken Jacobs will also be organized.

Created in 1991, the festival initially stemmed from the desire of two university students to create a new space for shorts at a time when ads were systematically replacing short movies before the screening of feature-length movies. “It is very hard to create an avenue for short movies today. Movies have become a product and it is always a big dispute between producers, exhibitors and filmmakers to conquer this space. This is why it is so important to have a festival that is free and where the general public can come,” says Ailton Franco Jr., creator of the festival.

A number of educational projects like Amarelo Manga’s directing workshop, David França Mendes, Nora Goulart and André Klotzel’s Laboratory for shorts which will help promote one selected short, or the project Sessão escola no Curta Cinema (School Session), which aims to familiarize school students with the genre, all participate of this desire to make shorts more accessible.

Often seen as the training field of young filmmakers, shorts usually suffer from a lesser prestige than feature films. Indeed, according to Ailton Franco Jr, “a short is the ideal arena to experiment different cinematographic languages. With the advent of technology it is also the best and the cheapest way to do so.”

A main concern of Curtas Cinema is to showcase the new and different ways cinema is created and viewed. For example, the Blogothèque program brings to the big screen short experimental musical documentaries about musical groups in unexpected environments – Arcade Fire, Beirut – that were initially made for the internet.

Another new project brings shorts out of the closed room of the movie theater and into a gallery, enabling the viewer to experience cinema in a more interactive way and thus, the festival itself.

From October 28th to November 7th.
Free entrance
Cine Odeon (Praça Floriano 07 – Cinelândia)
Caixa Cultural (Av. Almirante Barroso, 25 – Centro)
Oi Futuro (Rua Visconde de Pirajá 54 – Ipanema)
Ponto Cine (Estrada do Camboatá 2300 – Guadalupe Shopping)
Full program at


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