'Neon Bull' Sweeps Rio Film Festival Awards

Neon Bull Still - H 2015
Courtesy Biennale di Venezia

Gabriel Mascaro's tale of rural Brazil took home 5 Redentors, including best film and screenplay.

The Rio Film Festival handed out last Tuesday the Redentor awards for its Premiere Brazil competition of local films, dominated in the fiction category by Gabriel Mascaro's Neon Bull, which swept the board collecting best film, best screenplay, best cinematography and best actress. It is the latest festival success for Recife new wave director Mascaro's muscular tale of a changing rural Brazil that previously took the Venice Orizzonti's special jury prize.

Selected from 13 feature films, seven feature-length documentaries and 10 shorts in competition, the Premiere Brazil competition was evaluated by a jury composed of jury president Walter Carvalho, Christian Sida-Valenzuela, exec director of the Vancouver LatAm Film Festival and assistant coordinator at Festival De Cine Mexicano De Durango, U.S. producer and director Alan Poul, sales agent Pape Boye and director Vivian Ostrovsky.

New talent was in the spotlight throughout the awards evening, with first time writer/directors Ives Rosenfeld (Hopefuls) and Anita Rocha da Silveira (Kill Me Please) sharing a best director prize. Both films also saw their newcomer cast recognized: Valentina Herszage was chosen for best actress for her role in Kill Me Please, whereas Ariclenes Barroso and Julia Bernat won best actor and best supporting actress for their roles in Hopefuls. Neon Bull's Alyne Santana was, along with Bernat, also awarded best supporting actress. Caio Horowicz won best supporting actor for California.

The special jury award went instead to veteran filmmaker Ruy Guerra for Oblivious Memory.

Top prize in the festivals' New Trends section was presented to Seashore, directed by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon, which received the best film award. It was a second straight win for the film, praised for “elegantly bringing to the fore the melancholy and solitude of that all-too complicated coming-of-age process.” Days earlier, the film was awarded the special jury prize in this year’s Felix awards, a recently created prize that recognizes LGBTQ related works in the festival. Felix awards were also given to Sean Baker's Tangerine, for best fiction film, and Aldo Garay's The New Man, for best documentary.

The Felix Awards also celebrated its first Suzy Capó Felix Personality of the Year Award, given to 72 year-old transgender TV actress and personality Rogeria. The award was named after the late Rio Festival programmer and journalist, and will be given each year hence to "an individual recognized for their positive contribution to the world of the Brazilian LGBTQ communities," according to a festival statement.

The Rio Film Festival ran Oct. 1 – 14, screening over 250 international and local films in more than 20 locations around the city, with almost 300,000 tickets sold, according to a festival statement.

Full awards are listed below.

Premiere Brazil

I. Best Fiction Feature

Neon Bull, directed by Gabriel Mascaro

(Brazil, Uruguay, Netherlands. 2015)

II. Best Feature Length Documentary

Olmo and The Seagull, directed by Petra Costa and Lea Glob

(Brazil, Denmark, Portugal, France. 2015)

III. Best Short

Bird Skin, directed by Clara Peltier

(Brazil, Germany. 2015)

IV. Best Director, Fiction

 - Shared -

Anita Rocha da Silveira, for Kill Me Please

(Brazil, Argentina. 2015)


Ives Rosenfeld for Hopefuls

(Brazil, 2015)

V. Best Director, Documentary

Maria Augusta Ramos, for Future June

(Brazil, 2015)

VI. Best Actress

Valentina Herszage, for Kill Me Please

VII. Best Actor

Ariclenes Barroso, for Hopefuls

VIII. Best Supporting Actress

- Shared -

Alyne Santana, for Neon Bull


Julia Bernat, for Hopefuls

IX. Best Supporting Actor

Caio Horowicz, for California

X. Best Cinematography

Diego Garcia, for Neon Bull

XI. Best Editing

Sergio Mekler, for Campo Grande

XII. Best Screenplay

Gabriel Mascaro, for Neon Bull

XIII. Special Jury Prize

Oblivious Memory, directed by Ruy Guerra

(Brazil, 2015 – World Premiere)

Premiere Brazil – New Trends

I. Best Feature Film


Directed by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon

(Brazil, 2015)

II. Best Short

October Is Over

Directed by Karen Akerman and Miguel Seabra Lopes

(Brazil/Portugal, 2015)

III. Special Jury Prize


(Brazil, 2015)

Audience Awards

I. Best Fiction Feature

Nise the Heart of Madness, directed by Roberto Berliner

II. Best Feature Length Documentary

Betinho – Hope on the Line, directed by Victor Lopes

III. Best Short

Sheeliton, directed by Marão

FIPRESCI Award for Best Latin American Film 

I Promise You Anarchy

Written and directed by Julio Hernández Cordón (Mexico / Germany, 2015)