Brazilian film festivals Rio Cine Festival and Mostra Banco Nacional de Cinema were founded in 1984 and 1988 respectively. Both events took place in Rio de Janeiro and were held within a period of two months between each other. To avoid overloading the city with two similar festivals held within a short period of time, the city government eventually decided to merge them. That’s how Festival do Rio was born.
The program of the festival is very rich and diverse. For example, the program of the 2007 Festival do Rio included over 300 films from 60 movies, including award winning-films that earned accolades at the Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival as well as Academy Award-winning films. The program is divided into several sections such as Brazilian Premieres, Latin American Premieres, Midnight Docs, Midnight Movies, World Panorama, Panorama: Masters, Frontiers, etc.
The Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival is a competitive one. The jury bestows twelve main awards: Best Feature Film, Best Documentary Film, Best Short Film, Best Script, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, Best Actor/Actress in a Supporting Role, Jury Prize.
Besides, there is a number special prizes. For example, Audience Awards are given to the best feature film, best documentary film and fest short film based on the results of the audience voting. The Felix Award is given to the best LGBT themed film. Such a name was chosen because “felix” is happiness in Latin. Special awards are also given to the best Brazilian films and outstanding representatives of the country’s film industry. FIPRESCI (the International Federation of Film Critics) awards its prize to the best Latin American film.
Although Festival do Rio is primarily an audience-oriented event, it also features some events designed for industry representatives such as closed screenings, seminars, workshops and meetings. The festival’s business area is called RioMarket, it is the biggest audiovisual market in Latin America.