*FSR traveled to Manaus, Brazil to attend and cover the 8th Amazonas Film Festival. See all our coverage here.*

The most talked about elements of any film festival are usually the films that play there, but there are other aspects that can make or break a fest as well. The atmosphere, the attitudes of both organizers and attendees, the local cuisine, the quality of the theaters…

And of course, location.

Sundance has the snow-covered beauty of small town Utah. Cannes has the sun-dappled beaches of Southern France. SXSW and Fantastic Fest have the film lover’s mecca of Austin, Texas.

And the Amazonas has a Brazilian city on the Amazon River surrounded by rainforest.

A city which this year, from November 3rd through the 9th, will be invaded by FSR (in the form of yours truly).

The Amazonas Film Festival is in its 8th year, but it remains small in comparison to its more well known cousins. This year will see only eight feature films (alongside twenty five shorts), but they come from several international sources including France, Iran, Kenya, Argentina, and of course, Brazil. All screenings take place at the historic Teatro Amazonas which makes up for its reportedly uncomfortable seating with stunning architecture, beautiful decorations, and a cinematic history all its own.

I’ll be covering the fest for FSR and posting daily dispatches throughout the week featuring everything from the films to the food to the jungle to the city itself. That’s the plan anyway… as someone who’s never been outside of North America, let alone to a country where I don’t speak the language, the whole thing could go bust and end with me in jail, in a cayman’s belly, or in an ice-filled bathtub sans kidneys.

The official press release is below:

AMAZONAS FILM FESTIVAL UNVEILS 2011 JURORS AND LINE-UP 

Award-winning films from around the globe will be screened 
at this unique festival in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest 

MANAUS, BRAZIL (October 26, 2011) – The eighth annual Amazonas Film Festival today announced its 2011 line-up, which features award-winning films from around the globe, and its jury of international stars and filmmakers. The festival will run November 3-9 in Manaus, Brazil. Screenings will be held at the Teatro Amazonas, the Belle-Epoque opera house upon which Werner Herzog based his epic film, Fitzcarraldo.

Opening night will feature the World Premiere of the Brazilian film Xingu by director Cao Hamburguer (The Year My Parents Went On Vacation). Produced by Fernando Meirelles’ O2 Filmes, the feature is set in the Amazon, where the Xingu reserve was Brazil’s first major attempt to create a large Indian reservation. Founded in 1961, it was the brainchild of the Vilas Boas brothers, who were able to unite a variety of tribes on the reservation in peace and harmony.

More than 30 films will compete in three sections, all vying for the Voo na Floresta (Flight Over the Jungle) trophy. These include: the International Feature Competition; the Brazilian Short Film Competition; the Competition for shorts produced in the state of Amazonas; and the screenwriting competition, for which there is a $40,000 prize.

The International Feature Competition will showcase eight films from a diverse selection of countries, including: A Separation, the Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear award-winner and Iran’s official entry for the 2012 Academy Awards; the French Drama Late Bloomers; and The Source, which screened to critical acclaim at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The full line-up of films is below.

The jury will be presided over by Brazilian filmmaker, Cao Hamburguer. He will be joined by American filmmaker Randa Haines (Children of a Lesser God, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, Dance With Me), Brazilian filmmaker Tizuka Yamasaki (Gaijin – Roads of Freedom, Macho Woman Parahyba), Mexican actor and singer Alfonso (Poncho) Herrera, and former Director of the Havana Film Festival, Ivan Giroud.

This year’s President of Honor is filmmaker Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener, Blindness, 360)

The Amazonas Film Festival is a weeklong gathering for Brazilian cinema enthusiasts, film industry insiders, international celebrities, filmmakers, and journalists to celebrate art and film in an incredible setting – the Amazonian rainforest. The festival also has a number of initiatives to educate local audiences about film, including screenings at community centers, prisons, hospitals, bus stops, and remote villages along the Rio Negro River.

Further information about the festival is available at facebook.com/AmazonasFilmFestival

AMAZONAS FILM FESTIVAL 2011

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM COMPETITION

· EU RECEBERIA AS PIORES NOTíCIAS DOS SEUS LINDOS LABIOS – Beto Brant e Renato Ciasca. Brazil
· CARTEIRO – Reginaldo Faria. Brazil
· A SEPARATION – Asghar Farhadi. Iran
· THE FIRST GRADER – Justin Chadwick. UK, USA, Kenya
· LA SOURCE DES FEMMES -Radu Mihaileanu. Belgium, Morocco, Italy, France
· EL ESTUDIANTE – Santiago Mitre. Argentina
· OS ÚLTIMOS CANGACEIROS – Wolney Oliveira. Brazil
· LATE BLOOMERS- Julie Gavras. France, Belgium, UK

BRAZILIAN SHORT FILM COMPETITION

· “A dama do Peixoto”, by Douglas Soares e Allan Ribeiro – Rio de Janeiro
· “Braxília”, by Danyella Proença – DF (Brasilia)
· “Cachoeira”, by Sérgio Andrade – Amazonas
· “Casa afogada”, by Gilson Vargas – Rio Grande do Sul
· “Cine camelô”, by Clarissa Knoll – São Paulo
· “Cowboy”, by Tarcisio Lara Puiati – Rio de Janeiro
· “Encontro das águas”, by Bruno Torres e Evaldo Mocarzel – DF (Brasilia) /São Paulo
· “Ensolarado”, by Ricardo Targino – Rio de Janeiro
· “L”, by Thais Fujinaga – São Paulo
· “Lápis de cor”, by Alice Gomes – Rio de Janeiro
· “Meu medo”, by Murilo Hauser – Paraná
· “O céu no andar de baixo”, by Leonardo Cata Preta – Minas Gerais
· “Pra eu dormir tranquilo”, by Juliana Rojas – São Paulo
· “Qual queijo você quer?”, by Cintia Domit Bittar – Santa Catarina
· “Sala dos milagres”, by Claudio Marques e Marília Hughes – Bahia
· “Ser ou não ser”, by Leonardo Costa – Amazonas

SHORTS COMPETITION -FOR FILMS PRODUCED IN AMAZONAS-

• “Alegoria da preguiça”, by João Aureo
• “Morto vivo”, by Leonardo J. Mancini
• “O encontro”, by Diego Nogueira
• “Parente”, by Aldemar Matias
• “Rito de morte”, by Sávio Stoco
• “Sol/chuva”, by Keila Serruya
• “Televisão”, by Moacir Massulo
• “The tucupi’s panther”, by Marcos Tubarão
• “Vivaldão”, by Zeudi Souza “


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