'VIPs' cleans up at Rio Int'l Film Fest awards

Drama nabs four honors; Flavia Castro gets FIPRESCI prize

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Toniko Melo's "VIPs," a film inspired by the real life of drug plane pilot turned imprisoned imposter Marcelo Nascimento, was awarded the best fiction feature award at the 12th annual Rio International Film Festival, which handed out its prizes Tuesday night at a jovial and surprisingly brisk ceremony.

"VIPs" ended up the outright winner of the night, nabbing four other major awards, including best actor for Wagner Moura, best supporting actor and actress prizes for Jorge D'Elia and Gisele Froes, and finally, a best editing honor was awarded to Vania Debs.

Charly Braun's direction of "Beyond the Road" (Alem da Estrada) earned him the prestigious best director honors, while "Boca" cinematographer Adrian Tejido took home honors for best photography. "Elvis & Madona" writer/director Marcelo Laffitte landed the award for best screenplay with the honor for best actress given to newcomer Karine Teles.

The fest's best documentary was Flavia Castro's first feature film "Diary, Letters, Revolutions," an exploration of her own leftist father's life in exile. Castro was also awarded by a special critics jury the FIPRESCI prize for Best Latin film.

Audience voting saw things differently with Geraldo Motta and Gisella de Mello's feature film "Lord of the Labyrinth" (Senhor do Labarinto) and documentary "Positive" by Susanna Lira both picking up audience awards.

Best shorts were Marcio Salem's "The Wind" (Vento) in the jury category and Natara Ney's "Another Essay" (Um Outro Ensaio) in audience.

The fest, which will conclude Wednesday night with a screening of the Spain/Brazil co-production "Lope," a story of a playwright living in 16th century Madrid, again positioned itself as Latin America's largest film festival, screening more than 350 films from 60 countries.
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