BrazilFoundation was the Community Partner to the first Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival (LABRFF) held March 7-9. At a Pre-Festival Benefit Reception hosted by BrazilFoundation on March 6th at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica, 150 people joined in celebration of the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival. This was also an opportunity to honor Ambassador Thereza Maria Machado Quintella, Consul General of Brazil in Los Angeles, for highlighting the many vital aspects of Brazilian culture, industry, commerce and traditions for Angelinos, and who is retiring next May. She deeply appreciated the honor and joked that “it made [her] feel like she was at the Oscars ceremony!”
Contributing to the success of the evening were Walter and Wagner Caldas, two young violinists from the Orchestra da Grota do Surucucu, a project of Reciclarte, a grantee of the foundation in an at-risk neighborhood of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro. The Caldas twins are now studying music on scholarship at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). They were introduced by their UNI music professor, John Valentine and performed several classical pieces. Wagner, who is also a gifted singer, gave a rendition of the Louis Armstrong standard, “What a Wonderful World”, which made the audience cheer!
Thanks to the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival, which is now planned as an annual offering, Brazilian film has a chance to get the mainstream recognition it deserves – for its cinematic creativity and its courage in addressing Brazil’s social ills, which are all the more unsettling for existing in conjunction with the country’s beauty and riches. The Festival provided a singular opportunity for BrazilFoundation Directors Marcus Vinicius Ribeiro and Vanessa Simone Pereira and Manager of the Foundation’s Expansion program – Lilian Miller, to introduce BrazilFoundation and its mission.
LABRFF’s organizers, Meire and Nazareno Fernandes, in addition to running a very exciting festival, demonstrated their support for BrazilFoundation by inviting it to be the Festival’s only non-profit partner. The Festival helped enlist 60 new FRIENDS of BrazilFoundation – including Roberto Santucci, the Festival’s award winner for the film Riding High. The FRIENDS & PARTNERS of BrazilFoundation Campaign has created a vital community of supporters who help the Foundation promote the work of the non-profit sector in Brazil and extend the Foundation’s donor base to various regions in the U.S. where there are significant Brazilian populations.
The Foundation was pleased to have its 30-second public service announcement, produced by GOL Marketing, screened between viewings of the 40 films presented at the Festival. At closing night our PSA was applauded by a theater filled with 300-plus people – a clear recognition that the role of the Foundation was taken to heart. Many in the audience made it a point to stop by BrazilFoundation’s table for additional information provided by the Foundation’s dedicated volunteers, L.A. artists Rose Lobo and Sandra Zebi.
Special thanks for making this a very special event go to all members of the Benefit Committee. Diana Taylor, a Los Angeles psychologist and member of the Committee, introduced the evening’s honoree, Ambassador Quintella. She also spoke passionately about Ambassador Quintella’s work and how she inspired so many in L.A. to find the best in ourselves and to make a difference.
Other members of the Benefit Committee were Aaron and Raquel Davies, Cyro Duarte, Meire Fernandes, Jacob Forman, Adriana Gomez, Oswaldo Kuono, Ignez Penna, Marthina Sochodolak and Rodrigo Veloso – all of whom provided enthusiasm and invaluable help in organizing the Foundation’s benefit event. Rodrigo and Emilie Veloso of O.N.E. World Enterprises donated delicious O.N.E. coconut water, adding a very Brazilian taste to the evening. Jet Blue helped bring Wagner and Walter Caldas to the Festival and Pizzato Vinhos e Vinhas sponsored the Foundation’s cocktail reception on March 6th.
The Foundation is grateful for the media coverage in Brazil and in the US of this event.
Jornal O Globo – article in portuguese
Revista Sete (RevistaSete.com) – article in portuguese
Brazzil Magazine (BrazzilMag.com)
Los Angeles Guide (LA.com)
photos by Dennis W. Butler / RevistaSete.com
BrazilFoundation’s Pre-Festival Benefit Reception
BrazilFoundation at LABRFF 2008 – March7-9