Toniko Melo's "VIPs" swept the Premiere Brazil Jury Awards at the 12th annual Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, which comes to a close Thursday night after fifteen days of screenings and events.
A true story of one of Brazil's greatest bluffers who conned his way into the jet-set before finally being discovered, "VIPs" dominated the evening, garnering five awards, including Best Film, Best Actor, and Best Editing.
Other films, popular with both audiences and critics during the festival, were similarly recognized. Charly Braun's "Além da Estrada" (Beyond the Road) earned Braun the Best Director award, Flavio Federico's "Boca do Lixo" (Boca) was awarded Best Photography, and Marcelo Laffitte's "Elvis & Madonna" nabbed the film a Best Screenplay prize.
First time feature director Flavia Castro was meanwhile given the Best Documentary award for "Diário de Uma Busca" (Diary, Letters, Revolutions…), a portrait of the life in exile of her militant leftist father Celso A Castro. Castro's film also earned her this year's FIPRESCI prize for Best Latin Film.
The public were at odds with the official jury in selecting their top picks. The festival audience chose to give their Popular Choice award to Geraldo Motta and Gisella de Mello's "Senhor do Labarinto" (Lord of the Labyrinth), the story of a schizophrenic who spent his entire life confined to institutions, but managed to create a collection of art that became acclaimed throughout the world. For their documentary award, the audience went with Susanna Lira's "Positivas" (Positive), a study of women living with AIDS.
For the night's full list of winners, visit the festival's website.