Semana Fénix 2016

The following conversation was the first that was organized on film directing; two more would be held in 2017 and 2018. This first time, we were blessed by the presence of Gabriel Mascaro, the director of Boi Neon *B (Neon Bull); Kleber Mendonça Filho, director of Aquarius; and Albert Serra, director of La mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV). All of these films were nominated for the Best Feature category at the Fénix Awards. This interesting and enlightening conversation between three great directors was moderated by the great Polish director and Cinema23 member Pawel Pawlikowski, who won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015 for Ida. They discussed screenwriting, character creation, working with actors and actresses and teamwork, among other subjects.

GABRIEL MASCARO (Recife, Brazil, 1983)
A visual artist and filmmaker, Gabriel Mascaro began his career in 2008 with the documentary KFZ-1348. His work is characterized by his critical reading of contemporary society, utilizing staging, reversal, displacement and appropriation. He investigates the relationships between micropolitics and everyday life in media such as film, installation and photography. His filmography includes Boi Neon (Neon Bull, 2015), Ventos de agosto (August Winds, 2014), Doméstica (Housemaids, 2012), Av. Brasília Teimosa (2010) and Um lugar ao sol (High-Rise, 2009). His work as a visual artist includes the installation Não é sobre sapatos (It’s Not About Shoes) and the photo series Desamar. His work has been shown at festivals and exhibitions such as the Panorama da Arte Brasileira at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art, the São Paulo Biennale, the Venice Biennale, MoMA, the Locarno International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), among others. He has participated in residencies such as Videobrasil at Videoformes (France) and at the Wexner Center for Arts (United States). In 2016, Boi Neon was nominated for the Fénix Awards for Best Feature, Director, Art Design (Maíra Mesquita), Costume Design (Flora Rebollo), Editor (Fernando Epstein, Eduardo Serrano), Original Music (Otávio Santos, Nascinegro), Cinematography (Diego García) and Script (Gabriel Mascaro), winning in the latter two categories.

KLEBER MENDONÇA FILHO (Recife, Brazil, 1968)
With a degree in journalism from the Federal University of Pernambuco, Kleber Mendonça Filho began his career as a journalist and critic, later experimenting with video and exploring its many forms. He is a director, producer, screenwriter and film critic, as well as the director of the Fundación Joaquim Nabuco. In the 1990s, he switched from video to digital and 35mm film. His filmography includes the shorts A garota do algodão (2003), Vinil verde (Green Vinyl, 2004), O crítico (2008) and Recife frio (Cold Tropics, 2009). His first feature, O som ao redor (Neighboring Sounds, 2013), was shown at festivals around the world. In 2016, his second feature, Aquarius, debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and then toured at other renowned international film festivals. It was nominated for the Fénix Awards for Best Feature, Sound (Ricardo Cutz, Nicolas Hallet), Director and Actress (Sonia Braga), winning in the latter two categories.

A film director born in Poland, Pawel Pawlikowski studied literature and philosophy, conducting his postgraduate studies on German literature at Oxford. Pawlikowski then changed careers, becoming a documentarian for British television. The work he did at this time won him international renown and led him to experiment with fictional storytelling. His feature films Last Resort (2000) and My Summer of Love (2004) were praised by critics at dozens of film festivals around the world for their biting narratives and innovative aesthetics. He has won many awards, including a BAFTA and an Oscar for his film Ida (2015), which won the award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015. His most recent film, Cold War (2018), won the award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018 and was nominated for several Oscars the following year. His filmography also includes La femme du Vème (The Woman in the Fifth, 2011), Twockers (1998) and Dostoevsky’s Travels (1991), among others.

ALBERT SERRA (Gerona, Spain, 1975)
Albert Serra studied Spanish and comparative literature, later becoming a film director and producer. His first feature, Crespià, The Film not the Village (2003) was not shown commercially. Honor de cavalleria (Honor of the Knights, 2006) was shown at the Cannes International Film Festival that year and its warm reception made him into a model of the contemporary European auteur. Cahiers du Cinéma listed it as one of the 10 best films that year. In 2008, he returned to Cannes with El cant dels ocells (Birdsong), his third film. La mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, 2016) was nominated for the 2016 Fénix Awards for Best Feature, Director, Art Design (Sebastián Vogler) and Costume Design (Nina Avramovic). Albert Serra is also the founder of the production house Andergraun Films, through which he produces all his films.

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