Festival do Rio 2012: Week 1

It is an adventure like no other, sitting in a dark room surrounded by strangers watching rapidly flashing images edited with sound while collectively going on a journey without leaving the theater. If the experience of going out to the movies is or has ever been in danger of losing its appeal, one would never guess that in Rio de Janeiro this past week.

20121002-183835.jpgEstação SESC Rio in Botafogo

Lines of people stood waiting at box offices around the city. While inside more lines formed consisting of those waiting patiently to enter the theaters. Groups in Estação Rio SESC sat at tables with festival programs and pens circling titles, flipping back and forth between synopses and showtimes.

People spoke to another in line making recommendations. One woman eagerly pulled out a handwritten list of the films including showtimes and alternates that she had scribbled sometime since the opening of the festival. She paused when asked about a film not on her list saying, “Oh, i want to see that one too. It’s on another paper in my purse”.

Multiple “to see” lists being discussed and talk of other international festivals attended this year combined while talk of “buzzes” formed a new buzz, a low hum of voices in lobbies throughout the city.

20121002-184337.jpgchecking programs in Botafogo

This was the first week of the 14th edition of Festival do Rio, Rio’s international film festival.

Inside the theaters crowds laughed during “Magic Mike”, cried at the end of “Algumas Horas de Primavera” and admired the drawings and animation of “Cor de Pele: Mel”. Often many lingered in their seats reading the credits after the films had finished and then upon exiting pulled out their guidebooks to decide what to see next.

The heart of the cinema was alive and beating. The rhythm sounding through the ripping and punching of tickets, crunching of popcorn and footfalls of filmgoers on the march to see the best Brazil and the world of film had to offer.

The differences in the various venues was almost as fascinating as the films that were playing within them. Some theaters were inside malls (or “shopping” as they’re called here) while others were grand theaters with curtains in front of the screens, while still more were in buildings in a row of buildings only distinguishable as theaters by their marques.

The hills were alive with the sound of reels spooling out, wrapping around the city, reflecting it back to itself while concurrently entwining it with the world.

That was the first week of Festival do Rio which continues citywide until Oct. 11th.

The complete program PDF is available here


Niterói Sk8 Downhill

The Niterói Sk8 Downhill, Urban Culture Festival is tomorrow at the Museum of Contemporary Art- MAC. There will be live graffiti, a downhill skating competition and live DJs. That’s right live graffiti, music and skating! It’s free for spectators and things should kick off around noon and end around 6 p.m. I can’t wait!

Flyer for event

Anima Mundi 2012

Promotion for the event

The 20th International Animation Festival of Brazil, better know as Anima Mundi, is here in Rio until tomorrow, the 22nd, before moving onto São Paulo until the 29th.

Located at at Rua Elvira Machado 5, 22280-060 Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Anima Mundi is the biggest animation festival in Latin America and features best film, professional jury and public awards.

Here’s the video that opened the festival-Anima Mundi 20 Anos- Homenagem dos Animadores Brasileiros. It took six months for 41 Brazilian artists to make and is a very creative way to celebrate 20 years of the festival.

This year, stop motion director PES, among others, is in town for the event. If you’re unfamiliar with PES’s works, I highly recommend that you check out his YouTube Channel and website, EatPES.

See more about the Anima Mundi Festival on their website, their twitter , Instagram feed – @animamundi and their Facebook page .

I Spy: MST Protesters and a Disinterested Carioca

Assembling at Cúpula dos Povos, MST (Movimento Sem Terra) protesters marched through the streets of Rio yesterday. Globo reported that the protest ended in violence.

The picture below was taken near Cinelandia.


My Day at Cúpula dos Povos (in Pictures)

Cúpula dos Povos is the people’s summit that’s happening concurrently with UN’s Rio+20 Earth Summit. Held in Aterro do Flamengo, MGFI and I went to check it out today. Here is what we saw:














































Green Nation Fest

Thanks to heavy traffic and our confusion in the subway, we missed Amy Miller , who is the director of the documentary The Carbon Rush and was the first speaker yesterday at the Museu Nacional. In Quinta Boa Vista, zona norte Rio de Janeiro, the Museu Nacional is hosting seminars as a part of the ongoing Green Nation Fest. It’s actually easy to find if you take the subway and get off at the São Cristóvão stop.


When we finally arrived, we were two hours early for the second seminar of the day so we walked around the exhibits set up in another section.

Museu Nacional

I unfortunately can’t say much about that part of the Green Nation Fest. This is due mostly to the fact the I didn’t really get to see/experience most of the more exciting sounding exhibits. They all had extremely long lines and we didn’t have that much time. What I did see included the shops tent, the bathrooms and the pastel and espetinhos/ yakisoba tent (both were good). Even though I didn’t see the exhibits, long lines are a great sign and all of the people exiting seemed pleased.

In the shop tent, hung on the walls, I saw these:
The people are made of recycled/reused materials

When it was time, we headed back to the Museu National and found our seats in the auditorium.


First we saw Kevin Bone and his lecture on Deep Water Drilling and Fossil Fuel Extraction. Among other things, he warned about the possible dangers of deep water drilling for pre-sal in Brazil and unreported oil spills that are occurring in the Campos and Santos basins.

As the oil industry booms in Brazil and more and more deep water drilling sites are springing up, the statistics rise for possible accidents. The depth of the drilling for pre-sal (some estimates place it at upwards of 17,000 feet deep) also make a future cleanup, should there be a massive deep spill, a very difficult endeavor. You can see more about pre-sal and offshore drilling in my post, A Bubblin Crude…Oil that is .

My opinion…

As I mentioned in my previous post, oil and oil exploration is booming in Brazil. From our brief time in Angra, I had a chance to see this phenomena up close. I mingled with and befriended (or they befriended me really) foreign workers. Among other nationalities, they were, American, Canadian, British, Norwegian, Dutch and Mexican. They worked as engineers, technicians, various types of specialists, naval architects, project mangers, quality control managers and translators.

It seemed to take a lot of people to merely get a rig into the water, much less run the ports, drill, filter and then finally transport the oil. These are major operations that require thousands of people for the overall production, including the people who operate the port, translators, human resource mangers and environmental technicians. That’s a lot of jobs and a lot of people working, at least for a short time.

From talking to the English speaking workers, especially the higher ups, I learned that they were earning for the most part, quite a bit of money. Actually it was so much money in some cases that they didn’t know what to with it all. This isn’t necessarily true for those lower on the chain of command, but it is still employment. They are jobs (something a lot of Americians these days would love to have) and a lot of these people are working very hard. Most people that I met (including the higher ups) worked 12 hour shifts, seven days a week. How they managed to still go out and mingle at night amazed me.

It is a boom.

I asked one of the American workers, who had become my friend in Angra, if Brazil was the new Texas and without blinking an eye he responded, “Yes”.

Brazilians also know this. The news is full of new places where oil is being discovered offshore and the bright future of the oil industry. They theorize what this could mean for Brazil. As an emerging economy, this boom could be a possible game changer for the country. Brazil, is as many have argued, a country that wants to be taken seriously. As threats of possible global oil shortages mount, by producing more and more oil themselves, Brazil could leverage the power they need to become an even more prominent and influential global power…a serious country.

It is also very important to take into account that even though Brazil has made tremendous strides in the production and use of sugar cane ethanol, a bio and not fossil fuel, US tariffs (which were lifted only in December) did much to hamper the growing enterprise in terms of export. Brazil was in some ways forced to look elsewhere to finds fuels to export globally for profit.

They haven’t only been looking to oil and natural gas. WIND AND SOLAR ENERGY IN BRAZIL: UNDERSTANDING THE HOW AND WHY (BY ERIC LONSTEIN AND TODD WINTNER) (a post on the wonderfully informative Rio Matters that I have mentioned before) discusses Brazil’s use of hydroelectric power and growing wind industry in the country.

Brazil seems to historically be on the lookout for things to use, sell, export and at times exploit. It seemed however in the last several decades that Brazil had taken a more sustainable path, without being told to do so. During the oil crisis in the 70s, Brazil made a concentrated effort to become a more energy independent nation. This lead to the building of dams, use of hydroelectric energy and the development and use of sugarcane ethanol.

The new surge in drilling and the recent changes to the Forest code appear to possibly be backward steps but should not overshadow all of the remarkable progress Brazil has made in terms of environmental stewardship.

Getting back to the lecture…

Mr. Bone was very careful to walk the fine line of warning about what could happen in Brazil, by using the BP spill in the Gulf as an example, without attempting to tell the Brazilians what to do. He was a good speaker and if he should come to a conference/fest your way, I recommend him and Joseph Levine.

In terms of oil and drilling in Brazil, I believe it’s a very difficult situation with the worldwide demand as the biggest part of the problem. Without demand there would be no boom to eventually bust.

Hydraulic Fracturing

Speaking of boom and bust, that leads me to the second speaker we saw yesterday, Joseph Levine. His lecture focused on the environmental hazards of Hydraulic fracturing, also know as fracking.


Hydraulic fracturing is an extraction method for natural gas, that is on the rise in the United States. By using massive amounts of natural water reserves and pumping back out chemical filled waste that can only be dumped and never used again, fracking appears to be the opposite of a sustainable process. Natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel but the means of it’s extraction seem to totally negate it’s benefits of use. The water and the waste aren’t the only problems with fracking. Read more at the website for the film Gasland’s Hydraulic Fracturing FAQs.

Josh Fox, the director of the film Gasland was supposed to be a speaker at Green Nation yesterday but sadly it was not meant to be for us. It’s okay. We were told he couldn’t make it because he’s busy working on Gasland 2, which the world needs. If you haven’t seen the first Gasland, I highly recommend it.

There is fracking now is Brazil. It doesn’t seem to be on the scale of the American companies yet, but, as Mr. Levine’s aerial before and after shots showed, these things tend to multiply like bunny rabbits (think Night of the Lepus type bunnies). They start out in remote areas and before you know it they’re everywhere and the water supply is depleted and tainted. We can’t live without water. Seriously, if you’re interested or alarmed by this, please watch Gasland.

Okay, so that’s my long-winded (as usual) wrap-up of our day yesterday at Green Nation Fest. I am really glad that I got the opportunity to attend and am eagerly awaiting Gasland 2’s release.

Events: Rio+20

With so many exciting and possibly world changing events coming to Rio in the next several weeks…and years, today I want to talk about:


The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is better known as Rio+20 . In 27 days, the Riocentro in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro will host this latest Earth summit that will include world leaders (among which may or may not be US President Obama), NGOs, government participants, scientists and various groups. Promising to be an historic meeting that will attempt to, among other things, draft and agree upon a plan to bring the world together to help reduce poverty and increase and improve the use of sustainable practices and clean energy.

Dubbed Rio+20 because this summit marks the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit, where Agenda 21 was adopted by more than 178 governments. A blueprint for actions to be implanted by organizations of the UN, Agenda 21 challenged governments to act locally, nationally, regionally and internationally to help reduce poverty,change consumption patterns, develop better conservation and management of global resources and strengthen the role of women,indigenous people, farmers and children in the hopes of developing a future more sustainable global environment.

Agenda 21 was debated, negotiated and finalized at the 1992 Earth Summit similar to what is happening (or will ideally happen) with Rio+20’s Zero draft of the outcome document. The Zero draft currently includes a challenge to reaffirm principles and past action plans from set forth in Agenda 21. The Zero draft document will be debated, negotiated and hopefully finalized at this year’s summit in Rio.

“Rio+20 is a chance to move away from business-as-usual and to act to end poverty, address environmental destruction and build a bridge to the future.”, the UN’s site for the summit proclaims.
Hopefully a more sustainable bridge at that.

There are still ways for you to participate


If you are a member of a group and have not registered yet, do not worry, hotel rates have been cut by up to 60% and registrations and accreditations have been extended for major groups until 27 May 2012. That’s a small window but you still have time to get through it.


A great way to participate is online through theSustainable Development Dialogues. Separated into ten dialogues (Oceans, Water, Food and Nutrition Safety, Sustainable Development for Fighting Poverty, Sustainable Development as an answer to the economic and financial crises, Sustainable energy for all, The economics of sustainable development for all including sustainable patterns for production and consumption, Sustainable cities and innovation, Unemployment, decent work and migrations and Forests) you can join and participate in one or all of the dialogues. Most of which are still in the accepting recommendations phase. This is where you can be involved!
After recommendations have been voted on (more involvement for you) and chosen they will be “conveyed directly to the Heads of State and Government present at the Summit”.

Or, if you would just like to know more…

The discussions and the recommendations alone are very interesting to read and worth a visit to the Dialogues in and of themselves.

There is also the Rio+20 Resource Page with issue briefs, notes, documents and reports.

The unfolding events and talks at Rio+20 could have a major impact on all of our futures. The discussions alone might bring changes or could possibly shine lights on different countries’ current agendas. Whatever happens, it should be very interesting.

Rio+Social: Attention Bloggers and local Journalists!

Rio+Social, a one day global convention featuring leaders of social media and technology, is coming to Rio de Janeiro on June 19th, the day before the official Rio +20 summit is set to begin. Speakers are set to include Pete Cashmore (founder and CEO of Mashable), Fabian Cousteau and Fabio Barbosa (CEO of Abril Group, big publishers here in Brazil). The talks will focus on how technology and social media can help with the global issues that will take center stage during the Rio +20 summit. To see more information, check out Rio+Social’s fact sheet here- Rio+Social.
Everyone including bloggers and journalists are invited to attend. If you’re interested, you can register here- Rio+Social Registration . If you can’t attend in person don’t worry, the event will be streamed live on their website.
For even more information see-
Rio+Social Website
The Rio+Social Facebook Page

October 12th

There are multiple reasons for celebrating in Brasil tomorrow (October 12th). First it’s Children’s Day, know here as O Dia das Crianças. It is the day of Our Lady of Aparecida, the official patron saint of Brasil. Also, it’s the birthday (dedication day) of Cristo Redentor. Let’s look at each one a little more in detail.
Children’s day is something we don’t have in the United States. Well… Wikipedia says we do on June the 3rd (but that it my vary from state to state). I however, have never witnessed nor heard of anyone celebrating it. Had I known, little me would have had another day to demand presents. The United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20th, 1989 but the celebration of the day began in the early twentieth century. An interest, possibly inspired by a vision of Jesus, of and the need to help impoverished children caused a British woman named Eglantyne Jebb to embark on a lifelong mission to help the hungry and poor children. One of her endeavors was the Save the Children’s Fund. The original Declaration of the Rights of the Child was drafted by Eglantyne herself. In Brasil, on November 5, 1924 Children’s Day was approved by the house to be celebrated on October, 12th. Over the years, it appears to have become a much more commercialized day in Brasil. There are news reports with suggestions for the best places to shop for O Dia das Crianças and ads with happy smiley kiddies giddy with anticipation of their presents. MGFI’s eyes light up when she reminisces about her Dias das Crianças. I don’t know if the spirit of the rights of children has been a little obscured over time but the same could be argued about the spirit of Christmas also being diluted by capitalism. We’ll get back to Christ in a bit . Let’s talk about Our Lady of Aparecida first.
Nossa Senhora Aparecida’s or Our Lady of Aparecida’s story begins in 1717 when a group of fishermen caught a headless statue after asking for God’s help in catching fish. They recast and brought up the head shortly after. A miracle then occurred when they continued to fish and caught so many that the weight of their overall haul threatened to sink their boat. The statue itself was a black Madonna (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception) that had been sculpted by Frei Agostino de Jesus, a paulista (from Sao Paulo) monk. The statue is now located in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Aparecida, Sao Paulo where yearly millions of people make a pilgrimage to it. Pope Pius XII, in 1930, proclaimed Our Lady of Aparecida the “Queen and Principal Patroness of Brazil”. Her feast day, October 12th is now a public holiday in Brasil.
In 2006, a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Aparecida was built at the base of Cristo Redentor in celebration of the statue’s 75th birthday. This year (tomorrow) marks 80 years that Christo has been perched atop of Corcovado towering more than 2,000 feet over Rio de Janeiro. Many world dignitaries, a couple of Popes, President Obama and family earlier this year, Rihanna during Rock in Rio recently and many many others have made the trip up to see Christ when visiting Rio. Construction of the statue began in 1922 but wasn’t opened to the public until October 12, 1931.
At 120 feet (including the pedestal), 98 feet wide and weighing in at 635 tons it’s no surprise that it was declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
Although I was not raised in a religious family there is something I really like about the idea of and vision of Christ standing with arms outstretched looking down lovingly and patiently on us all. He can be seem from so many places in the city. Even here in Niterói he can be seen across the bay in several places. Sometimes he is obscured by clouds, washed out by blinding sunlight or lit up at night like a beacon but he is always there…ready, patient and open. There is something comforting about that to me.
Although at first glance there may not be many similarities in the holidays tomorrow but a closer look reveals that there are more than meets the eye. The rights of children along side one of the most famous children in human history together with the mother of all mothers. The ideas of hope, the eternal availability of help, love and redemption are shared by all three celebrations. So… Happy October 12th to you all. Whether you are pilgrimaging, opening presents, viewing Rio from Corcovado or whatever your day brings, I hope it’s a good one.

Some other notable and talked about performances from Rock in Rio 2011

Thanks to Multishow, all of Rock in Rio was broadcast live on TV. MGFI and I watched several other shows from the comfort of our home.

Katy Perry played on the opening night and during her performance she called for a shirtless man to come up on stage. Here is what followed-

The funny thing is that Juli- OOOO after the show, became an instant celebrity for about a week. He reportedly received a free ticket for the next day and an article was written about him in a weekly magazine. I think it’s crazy how fame works, even the 15 minute variety but way to go JuliOOO.

Coldplay put on an excellent show as I thought they would. We debated long and hard about which day to attend. I still stand by our choice, however had Coldplay replaced another performer in our line up… that would have been just fine by me.

This is the end of the Coldplay set –

That’s enough about Rock in Rio. As much as I really want to talk about all the commercials, products with Rock in Rio on them (everything form perfume to a model of Volkswagon foxes) and the theme song being played and sung over and over on Sky ( our satellite provider). I think you really might have had to be here to catch the fury and excitement that was Rock in Rio 2011. Those of you who were here know what I’m talking about and for those of you who weren’t, hopefully now you know a little more. Tchau Rock In Rio. You were great.

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