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Gustavo Pizzi’s comic drama Loveling topped the Brazilian Academy Awards on Wednesday in a ceremony charged with responses to President Jair Bolsonaro’s recent attacks against the film industry.
Premiered in Sundance, Loveling won in six categories, including best film, director and original screenplay for Pizzi and his wife Karine Teles, who also won the best actress award.
The ceremony, held in Sao Paulo’s City Theater, featured a series of musical numbers, a tribute to actress-singer Zezé Motta and, most notably, an outspoken response from film professionals to Bolsonaro’s quarrel with Brazilian cinema.
Speeches by officials and award winners addressed what the industry regards as a tightening grip on the cultural sector, which has included executive decisions to gain control over state funding and threats to shut down Brazil’s federal film agency Ancine unless it establishes “filters” on the films that receive public funds.
Most recently, Bolsonaro said he wouldn’t let Ancine make “films, cultural discourses, that go against the interests of our Judeo-Christian tradition.”
These filters are reportedly being applied through investment funds like Banco do Brasil’s BB DTVM, which recently added a series of questions in its application form for film productions, demanding to know whether a project has a “political or religious imprint,” nudity/explicit sex scenes or references to “crime, drugs, prostitution, or pedophilia.”
“Cultural filters have a name: censorship,” said Sao Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas, who also referred to a portion of the political class who “wants to decide what can or can’t be featured in a film.”
“Even with a positive landscape for Brazilian cinema, with films winning awards in Cannes and our filmmakers being invited to the Hollywood Academy, we are still under attack. And when our existence as a sector is threatened, cultural identity is threatened,” said Academy president Jorge Peregrino in his opening speech, according to Globo.
Pizzi, the evening’s big winner, stressed the importance of the film industry in the country’s culture and economy. “We are here now because of what we built in the last 20 years of Brazilian cinema, added to the whole history of Brazilian films. That’s what we have now, and we can’t let that come to an end,” he added.
Luiz Bolognesi, winner of the best documentary honor for Ex pajé, directly responded to Bolsonaro: “Fifty percent of Brazilian people, more than 100 million people, are Afro-Brazilian. Sixty percent have indigenous blood and everyday habits. So the culture of Africa and indigenous peoples are shown in our cinema, and will be shown in our cinema. Just like the Judeo-Christian culture should and will be, but not exclusively,” he stated.
Veteran filmmaker Carlos ‘Caca’ Diegues — whose The Great Mystical Circus, which premiered at Cannes, grabbed six awards — said “no one” will succeed in ending Brazilian cinema.
“I have a 57-year film career and I lived through much worse moments than this one. And here I am,” he said.
A full list of the 2019 Brazilian Academy Award winners is below.
BEST FICTION FILM
Loveling, by Gustavo Pizzi
BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM
Ex pajé, by Luiz Bolognesi
BEST FILM FOR CHILDREN
Detetives do Prédio Azul 2 — O mistério italiano, by Viviane Jundi
BEST COMEDY FILM
Minha vida em Marte, by Susana Garcia
Gustavo Pizzi, for Loveling
Karine Teles, for Loveling
Stepan Nercessian, for Chacrinha: O Velho Guerreiro (Andrucha Waddigton)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Adriana Esteves, for Loveling
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Matheus Nachtergaele, for O nome da morte (Henrique Goldman)
Gustavo Hadba, ABC, for The Great Mystical Circus
BEST ORIGINAL SCRIPT
Karine Teles and Gustavo Pizzi, for Loveling
BEST ADAPTED SCRIPT
Cacá Diegues and George Moura, for The Great Mystical Circus
BEST ART DIRECTION
Artur Pinheiro, for The Great Mystical Circus
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Kika Lopes, for The Great Mystical Circus
BEST MAKEUP DESIGN
Catherine Leblanc Caraes and Emmanuelle Fèvre, for The Great Mystical Circus
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Marcelo Siqueira, ABC and Thierry Delobel, for The Great Mystical Circus
BEST EDITING FICTION
Livia Serpa, for Loveling
BEST EDITING DOCUMENTARY
Gustavo Ribeiro and Rodrigo de Oliveira, for Todos os Paulos do Mundo
BEST SOUND DESIGN
Jorge Saldanha, Armando Torres Jr., ABC, Alessandro Laroca, Eduardo Virmond Lima and Renan Deodato, for Chacrinha: O Velho Guerreiro
BEST ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Elza Soares e Alexandre Martins, for My Name Is Now
Zeca Baleiro, for Paraiso Perdido (Monique Gardenberg)
BEST FOREIGN FILM
BlacKkKlansman (U.S.), by Spike Lee
BEST IBERO-AMERICAN FILM
A Twelve Year Night (Argentina, Spain, Uruguay), by Álvaro Brechner.
BEST ANIMATED FILM – HONORABLE MENTION
Peixonauta — O filme, by Celia Catunda, Rodrigo Eba and Kiko Mistrorigo
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Lé com Cré, by Cassandra Reis
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
Cor de pele, by Livia Perini
BEST FICTION SHORT FILM
O órfão, by Carolina Markowicz
BEST ANIMATED SERIES
Irmão do Jorel, by Juliano Enrico
BEST DOCUMENTARY SERIES
Inhotim — arte presente, by Pedro Urano
BEST FICTION SERIES
Escola de gênios (season one), by Ângela Fabri
BEST FICTION FILM – PEOPLE’S CHOICE
Chacrinha: O Velho Guerreiro, by Andrucha Waddington
BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM – PEOPLE’S CHOICE
My name is now, by Elizabete Martins Campos
BEST FOREIGN FILM – PEOPLE’S CHOICE
A Star Is Born (U.S.), by Bradley Cooper
BEST IBERO-AMERICAN FILM – PEOPLE’S CHOICE
A Twelve Year Night (Argentina, Spain, Uruguay), by Álvaro Brechner
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