Since 1997, Brazilian film aficionados from all over Florida gather annually at the Brazilian Film Festival in Miami South Beach. Produced by Circuito Inffinito, this increasingly renowned festival not only introduces Brazilian films outside of Brazil, but also offers a precious opportunity for Brazilians living in the United States to become up to date on the latest and, ostensibly, best movies being produced back home. The festival offers approximately twenty-five of these best productions, selected from a much larger pool of films made and released domestically in Brazil. The audience participates by voting, after each screening, to elect winners of the “Crystal Lens Awards”, made up of eighteen different categories of film excellence.
The screenings take place at theaters in South Beach, such as the Colony Theater and Miami Beach Cinematheque. It is exciting to see thousands of fans lining up on Lincoln Road, to watch the latest (and best!) dramas, comedies, and documentaries from Brazil. Tributes are also paid throughout the screenings to acclaimed Brazilian actors and filmmakers.
In 2014, the 18th annual Brazilian Film Festival was again a huge success, not only among US-based Brazilians, but also with the cosmopolitan Miami population. It paid tribute to Vinicius de Moraes, one of the most famous Brazilian poets and song writers, who composed the legendary “Garota de Ipanema” (“Girl from Ipanema”). The 2014 festival also screened Casa da Mae Joana 2, directed by Hugo Carvana, with many Brazilians tearing up at the last film appearance of justly famous Jose Wilker. Efeito Casimiro, by Clarice Saliby, won the Crystal Lens Award for the best short film.
S.O.S. Mulheres ao Mar, a romantic comedy directed by Cris D’Amato, won the Best Movie Crystal Lens of 2014. The actor Reynaldo Gianecchini, and the film’s producer, Julio Uchôa, were suitably appreciative. While female fans may sigh for (super cute!) Gianecchini, he brings up a very interesting point when he expresses happiness that S.O.S Mulheres ao Mar was “welcome and understood outside Brasil”. It’s interesting to note this concern over not only cultural differences, but also the larger picture of acculturation of U.S.-based Brazilians – which could have, indeed, hindered the “understanding”, and thereby, success, of this film.
In any case, 2015 promises much more of the same: quality, enthusiasm, shared emotions … and cultural exchange. SPOILER ALERT: The 19th Brazilian Film Festival of Miami will take place in August, with the one and only Regina Duarte being honored!