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9th Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival opens this week

Festival do Rio, the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, which opens its doors to public and industry this coming Thursday, September 20, has confirmed that it will top and tail with world premieres.

Thursday’s opening night (20th) will see the first public screening of the final cut of José Padilha’s highly anticipated Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite).

The true story of two childhood friends employed in Rio de Janeiro’s military police special unit has been the subject of local controversy throughout filming. The film claims to expose the different sides involved in drug dealing in the city of Rio and its relation with Rio’s police force.

The film is scripted by Padilha (best known for his award-winning documentary Bus 174), Braulio Mantovani (City Of God) and Rodrigo Pimentel, a former Rio police officer on whose eye-witness accounts the story is reportedly based.

The close of the festival 15 days later (Oct 4) will see the world premiere of award-winning UK director Mike Newell’s $50 million screen adaptation of Nobel Prize winning Colombian writer Gabriell Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera. Faithfully scripted by Ronald Harwood, whose screen adaptation for Roman Polanski’s The Pianist earned him a 2003 Oscar, the film, set in the late 19th century and first decades of the 20th century, revolves around a fifty-year love triangle and explores the idea that suffering for love is a kind of nobility.

The first major foreign production to be shot in the scenic, walled city of Cartagena, Colombia, in decades (by The Queen DOP Affonso Beato), the film’s international scale is reflected in a cast which includes award winning Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiomo (La Finestra di fronte), Spain’s Javier Bardem, Brazil’s Fernanda Montenegro, Colombian-born US actor John Leguizamo, and fellow US actors Liev Schreiber and Benjamin Bratt (currently filming Stephen Soderberg’s The Argentine), and further highlighted by the fact the film boasts no less than a dozen named producers.

Director Newell, DOP Affonso Beato, and cast including Javier Bardem and Fernanda Montenegro as well as producers Scott Steindorff and Raul Guterres will attend the festival’s closing night gala screening.

Elsewhere in it’s 15 day programme, Festival do Rio will spool over 300 films from over 60 countries, with screenings located in 30 different venues throughout the city including Rio’s suburban ‘Lonas’ (cultural tents) and on Copacabana beach.

Festival’s 2007 edition sets out to celebrates diversity: distributed over 20 sections, this year’s programme brings some of this year’s most anticipated films and biggest festival award winners.

The festival’s international focus Panorama section includes Cannes Palme d’Or winner Cristian Mungiu’s “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”, Berlin Golden Bear winner Wang Quan’an’s Tuya’s Marriage - along with other Berlin prize-winners Goodbye Bafana from Bille August, Cristian Petzold’s Yella, and Park Chan–wook’s I’m A Cyborg But That’s OK - plus recent Venice award winners Todd Hayne’s I’m Not There, Ken Loach’s It’s A Free World, and Andrew Dominic’s The Assassination of Jesse James, which earned Brad Pitt Venice’s Coppa Volti Best Actor award.

Other Panorama highlights include Joe Wright’s Atonement, Alexi Tan’s Blood Brothers, David Lynch’s “Inland Empire”, Kim Ki Duk’s “Breath”, Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, Carlos Saura’s Fados, Denys Arcand’s L’Age des Tenebres, and further Cannes trophy winners Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park, and Naomi Kawase’s The Mourning Forest.

In all, the festival will provide 84 Latin America premieres of international films.

At the heart of Festival do Rio is the window-to-the world sections of Premiere Brazil and Premiere Latina, established to focus outside attention on the new work by Brazilian and Latin American filmmakers.

Premiere Brazil, the only competitive section of the festival, will give
world premieres to 18 films across its feature and documentary sections.

Premiere Latina will present 25 films drawn from already recognized
festival players such as Ariel Rotter’s Berlin two-prize winner El Otro,
and Carlos Reygadas’ Cannes Jury Prize winner Stellet Licht, and brand new films debuting here.

Every year the festival selects a country and dedicates a special section to it. This year’s chosen country is China. In Foco China, 12 recent Chinese productions, including Zhang Yimou’s “The Curse of the Golden Flower”, and 8 classics from the 1930’s e 1940’s, like Shi Hui’s “This is My Life”, will be screened.

Outside of the traditional sections – Expectations (emerging filmmakers), Midnight Movies (cult, bizarre and transgressive), Gay World, Generation (youth), Dox (doumentaries) and Frontiers, special events include a section dedicated to French fashion designer Agnès B. whose production house specialises in discovering new talents; a section tribute to the African American filmmmaker Stanley Nelson; and a John Wayne restrospective.

The Live Cinema section promises more than just images: integrating live interaction with DJ’s as the films are being screened. The sessions will take place in Odeon BR, always at midnight.

New Media is again a focus of the festival, both in programming and in the market section. For the second year, the event offers opportunities for cell phone films: with the Pocket Films presenting over 40 films shot on this format.

In the business area, RioMarket has as its main theme “media convergence”. Producers, executives and moviemakers from all over the world will discuss in seminars and business rounds, the different TV segments, internet and contents for cell phones.

A highlight of the programme is expected to be an international forum on the issue of Piracy which will bring together (October 2) legal representatives and rights holders from across the world, including US, the European Union and China, to address one of the medium’s fastest growing ‘crimes’.

Helping form an international view of this problem - which according to Interpol ranks as the most profitable crime in the world - will be Al Staehely, from the US, Tim Meng, partner of China’s Golden Gate, and Peter Marx, partner of Marx van Ranst Vermeersch & Partners, of Brussels. Representing Brasil, Leopoldo Nunes, Director of Ancine, Tânia Lima, Director of UDV - União Brasileira de Vídeo, Márcio Gonçalves, Anti-Piracy Regional Director of the Motion Picture Association of Latin America, and Marcelo Goyanes, of local law firm, Veirano Advogados.

RioMarket will see over 60 international experts from legal, licensing, finace, production and marketing posts in Rio to join the debates, seminars and platforms which will be held in the festival’s Copacabana Beach pavilion business centre daily throughout the event.

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