'Capitan of the Sands' Wins Top Prize at Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival

"Captain of the Sands"

Afonso Poyart's "2 Rabbits" also took home two awards for best director and best actress.

Cecilia Amado’s Captain’s of the Sands (Capitaes de Areia) took home top honors for best film at the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival at an awards ceremony held Thursday at the Landmark.

The film, which is a co-production between Brazil and Portugal, is based on the book by Jorge Amado, and was part of the centennial tribute that the fest held this year paying homage to the late Brazilian writer. It follows the life and adventures of several abandoned street kids known as "Capitães da Areia," in the city of Salvador during the 1950s.

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Cecilia Amado, granddaughter of Jorge Amado, was thrilled to take home the prize and said that she wants to keep her grandfather’s memory alive.

“My biggest expectation is at the beginning of the festival, because I want people to see the film, to think about it and get emotional about it,” Cecilia Amado told The Hollywood Reporter. “For me it’s important to show the history of Bahia and keep Jorge Amado's legacy alive, that's why I make films, to celebrate his life.”

The LABRFF honored Afonso Poyart, director of 2 Rabbits, and Carlos Alberto Riccelli, of Where Does the Happiness Hide?, with the awards for best director. 2 Rabbits' acclaimed Brazilian actress Alessandra Negrini also won best actress.

Camilla Belle’s Open Road was recognized for best soundtrack, honoring Ruben Feffer for his work in the drama co-produced by Brazil and the U.S. and directed by Marcio Garcia.

Gabby Egito, director of the short Stuffed, took home the L.A. Short award. Egito’s film is inspired by the critically-acclaimed novel The Devil to Pay in the Backlands.

THR also spoke to the founders of the festival, Meire Fernandes and Nazareno Paulo, about the challenges of doing a Brazilian festival in Los Angeles.

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“One of the biggest challenges is choosing good movies and bringing the best cinema of Brazil. To end the impression that Americans have about Brazil: that we don’t know how to make movies, that Brazil only has the samba and pretty women,” said Fernandes. “We do have many good filmmakers.”

According to Nazareno, the hardest part of having a foreign festival overseas is to raise funds for it.

“If we don’t have resources, we can’t accomplish this dream. The goal of the festival is to encourage co-productions between Brazil and the U.S," said Nazareno. “The fest exists to create real opportunities of networking between filmmakers from both countries.”

Here is the complete list of the winners of the Fifth Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival:

Best Film: Capitans of the Sand by Cecilia Amado

Best Directors: Afonso Poyart (2 Rabbits), Carlos Alberto Riccelli (Where Does the Happiness Hide?)

Best Actress: Alessandra Negrini (2 Rabbits)

Best Actor: Joao Miguel (Matraga)

Best Supporting Actress: Fernanda Carvalho Leite (The Postman)

Best Supporting Actor: Marcelo Airoldi (Where Does the Happiness Hide?)

Best New Talent: Julia Gomez (A Difficult Thank You)

Best Documentary: Heart of the Samba by Thereza Jessouroun

Best Short: Brazil by Pero Vaz de Caminha by Bruno Laet and Bugler by Pablo Muller

Best L.A Short: Stuffed by Gabby Egito

Best Cinematography: Roberto Henkin (The Postman)

Best Soundtrack: Ruben Feffer (Open Road)

Special Contribution Award: Caco Monteiro (Curador of Jorge Amado Tribute)