In 2015, the USA Non-Profit Rise Up & Care challenged the renowned Brazilian filmmaker Kátia Lund (the co-director of News from a Private War and City of God) to make five feature documentary films in one year that together reimagine Rio de Janeiro from a new perspective. These films celebrate the courageous individuals, passionate leaders, local innovators, and resilient communities of the favelas and marginalized neighborhoods of Rio. The five films together are greater than the sum of the individual films and shatter stereotypes and reconstruct our collective vision of the possible.
Documentary films often capture inspiring stories in poor communities and showcase these films in art-house theaters and film festivals, far removed from the communities they celebrate. The Reimagine Rio Festival launched during the Rio 2016 Olympics proposes something radically new: to think differently, to imagine things in another way, to shed light on the innovative activities that flourish in periphery communities of the city, where unbelievable things happen, but are never seen nor valued. Five inspiring films were shown for free in hundreds of screenings at more than seventy venues in the marginalized communities of Rio. Collectively, the films were watched by tens of thousands of the people who most benefit from these powerful messages, children and young people in Rio’s periphery neighborhoods. Young people that suffer social exclusion who were mesmerized by one-hour documentaries that feature protagonists just like them, with dreams like theirs. Five essential films experienced on the big screen, in social settings, in communities, with local leaders and facilitators to promote conversations about making the unimaginable possible.
"The Reimagine Rio film series shows us a city that many have not seen. It's a tribute to Rio's communities, to the strength of its people and the power of human ingenuity. Five stunning documentaries in one year is a remarkable feat. And Kátia Lund is the one filmmaker who could pull this off. Bravo!" Dr. Vinicius Navarro, media scholar at Emerson College, co-editor of New Documentaries in Latin America and co-author of Crafting Truth: Documentary Form and Meaning