'Amazonia' to Open Rio Film Fest

A Brazil/France co-production, Thierry Ragobert's 3D fiction is the biggest film ever shot in the Amazon jungle.

BUENOS AIRES – French/Brazilian 3D fiction Amazonia will open the next edition of the Rio de Janeiro Film Fest, the Folha newspaper reported Thursday.

The Brazilian-French co-production was directed by documentary helmer Thierry Ragobert (The White Planet) and tells the story of Kong, a young monkey raised in captivity who survives a plane crash and must adapt to life in the Amazon jungle. With a R$26 million budget (US$10 million), the film is the biggest production ever shot in the Amazon,  involving more than 180 people as well as several shooting periods coordinated by prod companies Gullane (Brazil) and Biloba (France). Ragobert's film will first act as the Closing Night screening for the Venice Film Festival and later head to Toronto. 

“The entire world came to shoot in Amazonia, and we wanted to make something Brazilian, but at the same time we have an international DNA and an interest in co-production,” producer Fabiano Gullante told Folha.

“This is not a documentary, but the French have a posh way of doing research and capturing beautiful images of nature. But here we also have a dramatic concern,” added Gullane, who started working on this project in 2008 together with Stephane Milliere, who came up with the idea of a film about a young monkey lost in the forest.

The main international window for new Brazilian cinema, the Rio Film Fest runs Sept. 26-Oct. 10 and features two competitions in the Premiere Brazil section for documentaries and fiction films. It also hosts the RioMarket, one of the region’s mail film markets for LatAm productions.