Rio Film Fest to Highlight UK Cinema

Mike Newell's 'Great Expectations'

Mike Newell's "Great Expectations," Hitchcock on Copacabana Beach and cultural Olympiad films to headline UKBrasil Season.

BUENOS AIRESThe biggest film event in the region, the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival will pay homage to British cinema with a special UK focus. The fest, which kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 29, and runs to October 11, also hosts the RioMarket, which in this edition invited several British producers to debate on coproduction opportunities between the UK and Brazil.

Organized in tandem with the British Council, the UKBrasil Season will be opening with a gala screening for the Latin American premiere of director Mike Newell’s screen adaptation of Great Expectations. The highlight of the focus will be on October 4 with a open-air screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1926 silent classic, The Pleasure Garden, in Copacabana Beach. Restored as part of a landmark restoration programme by the British Film Institute’s National Archive, the film will be shown with a brand new soundtrack by young UK composer, Daniel Patrick Cohen, played live by the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Ensemble.

STORY: Mike Newell's 'Great Expectations' to Close BFI London Film Festival

“There is a building synergy and growing relationship between London and Rio that has been driven by the cities hosting the Olympic games,” explains festival director, Ilda Santiago. “UK film and music have always been appreciated and enjoyed in Brazil, and we will be looking to build on that relationship, not only in 2012 but through to the 2016 Rio Olympic games and beyond.”

Rio is preparing for welcoming both the World Cup in 2014 and the next Olympic Games in 2016. As a nod to previous Olympic host, UKBrasil Season will include screenings of four newly commissioned ‘Olympic shorts’ by directors such as Mike Leigh and Lynne Ramsay, as well as Julien Temple’s feature length, London - The Modern Babylon.

Featuring a comprehensive retrospective of his work, the British focus recovers the figure of Brazilian director Alberto Cavalcanti, whose films have been long-preserved and restored by the BFI. Born in Rio, Cavalcanti lived in the UK from 1933 to 1950, and worked with John Grierson’s GPO Film Unit and Ealing Studios, where he shot The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby (1947), still regarded as the finest version of the Dickens classic. The film will be screened in Rio together with all of his features and ten shorts 

Contemporary UK cinema will also be on the spotlight with a tribute to both the James Bond series (a special 50th anniversary Bond marathon season) and new British talent. The program includes theatre director Rufus Norris’ Cannes selected debut feature Broken, celebrity rapper Ben Drew aka Plan B’s first film, Ill Manors, and Sally El Hosaini’s  My Brother the Devil, which won Best Cinematography at Sundance.

“The Rio International Film Festival has long championed British cinema, and it is fantastic to see another major UK Focus taking place in such a big year for the UK”, said Briony Hanson, British Council director of Film in the United Kingdom. “It’s particularly inspiring that the festival has selected not just a rich programme of contemporary features but paid equal attention to our heritage ranging from a Bond 50th anniversary programme to a significant contribution from the BFI National Archive.”

Last year, 9 British films were released commercially in Brazil. All together, they sold selling over 6.6 million tickets and grossing US$36 million, ranking third after US and Brazilian cinema.

The significant presence of British films at the 2012 Rio fest takes place in the context of a comprehensive four-year arts programme called Transform led by the British Council in Brazil and the UK in collaboration with more than 25 arts organizations from the UK and 40 from Brazil. The Transform projects are committed to promote knowledge exchange and capacity building in the arts sector in both countries

UKBrasil Season titles:

Great Expectations, Mike Newell

Trishna, Michael Winterbottom

Another Year, Mike Leigh

Broken, Rufus Norris

A Liar’s Autobiography – The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, Jeff Simpson, Bill Jones, Ben Timlett

The British Guide to Showing Off, Jes Benstock

Ill Manors, Ben Drew

The Pleasure Garden, Alfred Hitchcock

My Brother The Devil, Sally El Hosaini

Dreams of a Life, Carol Morley

9.79*, Daniel Gordon


Olympic Films

London - The Modern Babylon, Julien Temple

A Running Jump, Mike Leigh

The Odyssey, Asif Kapadia

The Swimmer, Lynne Ramsey

What If, Max Giwa, Dania Pasquini