Moara Passoni on the origins of the collective of Brazilian filmmakers

Today, short film streaming platform Argo launches two new film playlists from eight members of the Brazilian Filmmakers Collective. Below, Moara Passoni, one of the Director‘s 25 New Faces, looks back on the genesis of the group. – Editor

At the end of 2013, I moved to New York to launch director Petra Costa’s first feature Helen. Back then, we used to joke that we were “Brancaleone’s incredible army” – young Brazilians, mostly women, conquering Hollywood. We pulled off a stunning opening weekend, but it didn’t go much beyond that. Everything would change a few years later, with Costa’s Oscar nominee and Peabody Award winner On the edge of democracy, but the success of these films is really an exception to the rule. Latinos, though present everywhere in the United States, are still a minority in leading roles in film, behind and in front of the cameras.

As someone born and raised in the outlying neighborhood of Jardim Ângela, São Paulo, I always felt like an outsider in the world of Brazilian cinema. The same thing would happen again in the United States.

Around May 2021, director Alex Moratto (7 Prisoners) called me with a proposal: “Moara, we have a group of friends who have made films in Brazil, for Brazil and beyond Brazil. Why don’t we reach out to others in the same boat and form a community of mutual support? This was the beginning of the Collective of Brazilian Filmmakers. With Ramin Baharani and Fernando Meirelles as mentors, the collective now has 12 participants, all directors, working between Brazil and the United States. In addition to weekly meetings, we read scripts and watch everyone’s first cuts. We also create projects together, share knowledge, ideas, important contacts and help each other find breakthroughs in this complex industry.

In addition to trusting each other creatively, we share the same interest in reflecting on fundamental aspects of contemporary life through film.

We hope this community can grow and help more and more professionals tell their stories and make them resonate around the world. Without a shadow of a doubt, we are living in a historical moment full of competing narratives about reality. We must build bridges and break down walls. Storytelling – diverse storytelling – has never been more urgent or central to our societies.

Today the collective is launching a channel hosted by Argo Films. First, we will present the first short films of the directors of the collective. But the idea is to turn it into a channel of Latin American short films.

Moara Passoni is a founding member of the Collective of Brazilian Filmmakers. She led Ecstasy (Cannes Directors’ Fortnight; MoMA New Directors/New Films) and was co-writer and associate producer for the Oscar nominee On the edge of democracy. She is writing her first feature film, Mothers of the Periphery (Custo de Vida), with the support of Torino Script Lab, Cine Qua Non Lab, V-Day Foundation, Projeto Paradiso, Catwalk Institute; finish the short film my mother is a cow and joined as director Christina Lazaridi and Sydney Smith in the high-concept eco-horror film, Howler. She recently earned a master’s degree in screenwriting-directing from Columbia University for which she won the Milena Jelinek Memorial Award ’22. Moara is a 2020 25 New Face filmmaker.

Photo: In alphabetical order: Alexandre Moratto, Débora Souza Silva, Giuliana Monteiro, Iuli Gerbase, Jorge
Camarotti, Livia Perez, Mario Furloni, Moara Passoni, Pedro Kos, Rafael Thomaseto, Sofia Geld, Tania

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