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João Nicolau in the spotlight in Santa Maria da Feira


- The Santa Maria da Feira Portuguese-Brazilian Film Festival is organising a retrospective of Nicolau’s work, and his John From is being shown in competition

João Nicolau in the spotlight in Santa Maria da Feira
John From by João Nicolau

The 19th Santa Maria da Feira Portuguese-Brazilian Film Festival kicked off last night, heralding the start of an edition at which Portuguese director João Nicolau is the filmmaker in focus.

Nicolau is the subject of a retrospective that includes his shorts Bird of Prey (2006), Song of Love and Health (2009), The Gift of Tears (2012) and Wild Haggis (2013), as well as the director’s feature debut, The Sword and the Rose [+see also:
film profile
(2010). In addition, Nicolau’s second feature, John From [+see also:
film review
film profile
, is also being shown in the festival’s main competition section.

Co-produced by Portugal’s O Som e Fúria and France’s Shellac Sud, John From was recently shown at gatherings in São Paulo and Seville (read more). Local theatrical distribution is scheduled for 3 March 2016, at the same time as its Brazilian release.

There is also a second Portuguese feature in competition: Crime e Ornamento, a Bando à Parte production, which marks director Rodrigo Areias’ first foray into the film-noir genre.

Despite their Brazilian focus, two other titles in competition have European involvement. One of them is the eagerly anticipated Neon Bull [+see also:
film review
film profile
by Brazilian visual artist Gabriel Mascaro, which is hitting Feira after a successful tour around the festivals of Venice, Toronto and Rio de Janeiro. The Netherlands’ Viking Film was behind its production. The second European title is Aspirantes by Ives Rosenfeld, whose post-production was wrapped thanks to the support of Locarno 2014’s Carte Blanche programme.

In the short-film section, it is worth noting the selection of Portugal’s Maria do Mar by João Rosas (winner of the latest Vila do Conde Short Film Festival) and the animated project Motel Sama, co-directed by Porto-based Brazilian artist Eduardo Sama and journalist-turned-director Luísa Sequeira.

A shining example of resistance, creativity and survival in a tough financial context, the Feira Festival continues to build a bridge across the Atlantic, allowing Portuguese audiences to discover some of the most exciting emerging talents from Brazil.

Beatriz Seigner’s Bollywood Dream is set to bring the gathering to a close on 13 December.

Basque Cannes
Ex Oriente Film
Jihlava Film Fund

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