Rio Film Fest to Honor Mexican Cinema and Offer New LGBT Prize

'Salt of the Earth'

‘Salt of the Earth’ will be the 16th edition's Opening Film

BUENOS AIRES – The Rio de Janeiro Film Festival has chosen Mexico to be the honored country at its 16th edition, where the new Felix prize for gay-themed films will be introduced, Globo newspaper reported Thursday.

The Mexican cinema section will screen a selection of films by young directors, like Alonso Ruiz PalaciosGueros — winner of the Best First Feature award in Berlin — as well as restored classics, like Juan Bustillo Oro’s 1934 Godfather Mendoza.

Emulating the Berlin Film Festival and its Teddy Award, Rio has decided to eliminate the until now separated Gay Exhibit section. Films eligible for the LGBT prize will be part of the general program.

Screening 350 films across 35 venues and with a $3.7 million investment ($8.5 million reais), the fest will open with Wim Wenders' and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado’s doc Salt of the Earth about renowned photographer (and Juliano’s father) Sebastiao Salgado. The film won a Special Jury Honor at this year’s Un Certain Regard competition in Cannes.

As announced earlier by the festival, the Closing Film gala will feature the world premiere of the Brazil/Germany/UK co-production Trash, directed by Stephen Daldry (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), who is expected to attend the screening at the Cinepolis theaters in Lagoa; the fest’s historic main venue, Cine Odeon, is being renovated.

A Richard Curtis adaptation of Andy Mulligan’s novel, Trash was entirely shot in Brazil, where a huge artificial dump set was built. The film is distributed by Universal and stars Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara; local stars Selton Mello (The Clown) and Wagner Moura (Elysium); and Brazilian first-timers Gabriel Weinstein, Rickson Tevez and Eduardo Luis as three slum children who make a discovery in a garbage dump that will change their lives.

According to Globo, a first shortlist of the festival’s program includes the latest from David Fincher, Richard Linklater, Jason Reitman and Frederick Wiseman. They join the already announced 28 world premieres of Brazilian films in the Premiere Brazil competition, where the jury will be led by Brazilian filmmaker Karim Ainouz (Futuro Beach).

The Rio de Janeiro Film Festival runs Sept. 24 to Oct. 8.