By Aymara Limma
We can probably agree by now that Brazil is not just known for its amazing soccer, but also for its excellence in cinema. More than just a few talented Brazilian filmmakers have not only taken Hollywood by storm, but also conquered the world as well with their amazingly creative storytelling.
There is director Bruno Barreto known for his films “Reaching for the Moon” (2013) and “Dona Flor and her Two Husbands” (1976); Walter Salles, “Central Station” (1998) and “Dark Water” (2005); Fernando Meirelles & Katia Lund for “City of God” (2007); and Jose Padilha for “Elite Squad” (2007).
All have helped solidify the opinion that South America’s largest country is also a major contributor to impactful cinema around the world, with a focus on social, economic and political themes. By displaying a sense of deep creative renovation and commercial and international affirmation, these filmmakers have not only brought a sense of pride to the Brazilian film industry with multiple Oscar nominations and wins, they have opened the door for new Brazilian filmmakers who are ready to walk the path that these pioneers have blazed.
The journey on this path includes a stop on a variety of U.S Film Festivals circuit. Some of them are inclusive Brazilians or made by Brazilians or with a particular interest in Brazil or Latin American. But talent and a good film are not enough to gain entry into many of these fests. Bellow, we list some festivals with “open doors” for Brazilian filmmakers (and even Actors/Actress).
Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival
Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival
The first edition was in 2009, just one year after the L.A Brazilian Film Festival. The Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival is a rapidly growing festival dedicated to promoting independent filmmaking. The festival distinguishes itself from other film festivals by embracing Latin American culture through feature films, Brazilian stars and live Brazilian entertainment. Usually, the HBRFEST is held during the month of October – www.hbrfest.com
Miami and New York Brazilian Film Festivals
Both festivals are part of the Inffinito Festival Circuit that includes also London, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Vienna and Johannesburg, and also the city of Canudos in Brazil. The festival in NY usually is held during the month of June while in Miami is held during the month of August. Founded in 1995, the group Inffinito remains an innovative, dynamic and creative company with focus on the fine art of exposing Brazil’s strong artistic profile to new international markets – www.brazilianfilmfestival.com
San Diego Latino Film Festival
Incorporated in 1999, founder and executive director Ethan Van Thillo have grown the organization from a mere film festival to a mid-size organization with diverse state-wide programs and services for residents, visitors, and independent and amateur filmmakers. The programming philosophy is based on the organization’s founding vision: to challenge the historical exclusion of under-represented communities from the media arts field, and distorted images of these communities by mainstream media. The festival includes every year Brazilian films, and have Brazilian actor and filmmakers as special guests. It is held usually during the month of March – www.sdlatinofilm.com
Los Angeles Latino Film Festival
The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival is a five-day cinematic and social adventure held in the heart of Hollywood and held every year, usually in October. Something interesting is the fact that the public/attendance has the special opportunity to interact with filmmakers in a “Q & A sessions following each screening. The audience is not only Latino, but multicultural, including many celebrities and industry professionals. By its history, the festival has presented Brazilian films, but not every year. What is interesting is the fact of many Brazilian professionals in the cinema or audio visual niche have worked here on or behind the cameras – www.latinofilm.org
Newport Beach Film Festival
The Newport Beach Film Festival seeks to bring the best of international filmmaking to Orange County and every year they have the “Latino Spotlight” that showcase feature films from Latino America, and in special, films from Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Usually the festival is held during the month of April and/or May. The Latino Showcase brings films of this countries but also an afterparty in one night full of fun and entertainment. Usually the Latino Showcase afterparty give opportunities to Brazilians and Latinos entertainers living in Southern CA – www.newportbeachfilmfest.com
Cinema at the Edge Independent Film Festival
Over the past few years, the Cinema at the Edge has grown from a small festival at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica to approximately 5,700 attendees in the last festival edition. The festival screens nearly 55 narrative/documentary feature films and short films for a diverse local audience. The 2014 festival per example, selected two short films by Brazilian filmmakers. “Charming” by Mario Augusta and two of my short films: “Di Poi Cruz” and “Te Amo! Shabbat Shalom”. The second one was my directorial debut – and much to my surprise, “Te Amo! Shabbat Shalom” won the Audience Award for Best Short Film. Usually the festival is held during the month of April – www.cinemaattheedge.com
Like the American film industry, Brazil has seen its share of ups and downs. However, with the advent of new and dynamic storytellers, like the ones featured in these festivals and more, the future is bright.
*Aymara Limma started her acting career with the miniseries “Capitães da Areia” for a Brazilian TV Network. Early in her career, she was cast in Warner Brother’s “City of Angels”, stared as Becky Thatcher in the award winner play “The adventures of Tom Sawyer”, and was the host of “Hollywood Express”. She is a regular Soul Brasil magazine contributor.