Rio de Janeiro fest settles into new digs

Festival kicks off with 'Last Stop 174' in new spot near port

LONDON -- The 10th Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday with Brazilian director Bruno Barreto's "Last Stop 174," will be centered in brand new headquarters in the city's historic port area.

The custom-designed, 64,500-square-foot Centro Cultural da Acao e Cidadania will house the Rio Market, the Cine Encontro, in which panel discussions and conferences take place, and a meeting point called Cine Mobile Nokia.

The glamorous side of the festival, which will screen 350 films, will continue to take place at the downtown venues Cinelandia's Cine Palacio and Cine Odeon Petrobras, which has been refurbished.

Among the Latin American premieres scheduled are Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," Francis Ford Coppola's "Youth Without Youth," Joel and Ethan Coen's "Burn After Reading," Lucrecia Martel's "La mujer sin Cabeza," Pablo Trapero's "La Leonera," Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky" and Korean director Kim Jee-woon's "The Good, the Bad and the Weird."

The festival's competition section, Premiere Brasil, will feature world premieres including first-time director Matheus Souza's "Apenas O Fim," Mauricio Farias' "Veronica" and Jose Eduardo Belmonte's "Se Nada Mais de Certo."

"Latin American films don't travel well to other Latin American countries, and we have to build those bridges," festival artistic director Ilda Santiago said. "One of the main strategies of the festival, and we've seen it growing over the years, is to make it the kind of place where producers from different countries can meet and talk about ideas and projects."

The festival also is important in helping to launch films into the Latin American market.

"There is still a huge audience in Latin America that has not been reached and we want to make the world understand how underworked it is and Hollywood to understand what a great launching pad the festival is," Santiago said.