Brazilian Film Festival Guide

By Kevin Craft

We love samba music and Brazilian bikini waxes. Now it’s time to fall in love with Brazilian cinema.

From June 5 – 13, the 13th annual Brazilian Film Festival will screen a slew of films, put on two seminars about the film industry and host nine after parties. It is the perfect event for film buffs or anyone curious about learning more about our Portuguese speaking, southern neighbors

Most casual film fans associate Brazilian cinema with City of God, the 2002 film from director Fernando Meirelles that revolved around organized crime in Rio de Janeiro. But Brazilian cinema consists of more than just crime dramas. The 2009 festival lineup includes an array of comedies, dramas and documentaries with subjects ranging from a 1950’s Brazilian cowboy to the secret life of a cartoonist.

The festival kicks off with duel screenings on June 5 of My Name Ain’t Johnny, the recipient of the 2008 festival’s Audience Award. One screening will take place at 6 p.m. at the Hollywood Beach Theatre in Hollywood and will be followed by a special performance by DJ Marcelo. The other screening will take place at 7 p.m. at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. (The screening at the Colony will be preceded by a special screening of the short film Seven Lives.)


One of the highlights of this year’s festival is a week-long homage to Bruno Barreto, one of Brazil’s most prolific directors. Baretto started making feature films at the tender age of 17, and it is estimated that his films have been seen by over 12 million spectators. From Saturday, June 6 to Thursday, June 11, The Miami Beach Cinematheque will screen six of Barreto’s films, including Academy Award nominated Four Days in September. This is a fitting tribute to one of South America’s strongest directors.

The bulk of the festival will take place in the heart of Miami Beach, where 19 films will screen at the Colony Theater and compete for distribution deals, love from the audience and the Crystal Lens awards. These awards are given to films in several categories ranging from Best Director to Best Cinematography, and they will be presented on June 13, the festival’s final night, at 8 p.m. at the Colony Theater. The award ceremony will be followed by a screening of Bruno Barreto’s latest film, Last Stop 174.


The festival is also hosting two panels pertaining to the business side of the film industry. The first panel will take place on Monday, June 8 and will focus on opportunities for selling and distributing films in the American market. The second panel will take place on Tuesday, June 9 and feature discussion about conducting business with television stations from Latin American and North America.

The festival’s nine after-parties will be hosted at venues around Miami Beach such as the Brazilian steakhouse Texas de Brazil, Moaki nightclub, Segafredo Cafe and the Catalina Hotel. A full list of the after parties as well as information on all films can be found at the festival’s website,


Tickets to most films are $10 for general admission and $7 for festival members. You can also obtain information on the festival by calling 305-600-3347.


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