Campos do Jordao, the Cultural Epicenter of Brazil

Campos do Jordao, the Cultural Epicenter of Brazil

Long established as a venue for festivals devoted to music and the performing arts, Brazil’s alpine city of Campos do Jordão has also hosted audiovisual industry events, led by the annual showcase of upcoming releases, the Winter Show. Now on its 13th year, it was paused for two years because of the pandemic.

With the launch of FestCampos, new screening venues are being constructed, says Sergio Sá Leitão, São Paulo State Secretary of Culture. Built last year is the Auditório do Parque Capivari, a semi-outdoor amphitheater with a 3,000-seating capacity while the most recent cinema erected, Dr. Alem, holds some 300. These complement the oldest venue, the state-of-the-art Auditório Cláudio Santoro, built 50 years ago, with an 800-seating capacity. Free screenings over May 20-22 at the Dr. Alem include such Oscar-winning titles as “Coda,” “Dune,” “Encanto,” and “King Richard.”

An estimated 2.5-hour drive from Brazil’s financial capital, São Paulo, Campos do Jordão is emblematic of the country’s diversity of landscapes. “We’re more than just the beaches of Rio do Janeiro,” Sá Leitão notes wryly.

The new cinemas are welcome news as Brazil’s exhibition industry has been hard hit, just as it has in the U.S. and most parts of the world that experienced lockdowns.

Already vastly under screened, more than 100 screens, run mostly by small indie companies, closed down in Brazil due to the pandemic, Sá Leitão estimates. “The big question is if there is life for other films aside from the superhero movies; the medium-budgeted and arthouse films are doing poorly and I question if Brazilian films can survive at the box office,” he muses.

Given the cutbacks in federal initiatives, São Paulo has become a haven for filmmakers, both local and international. The state has increased its rebate program to R$40 million ($8 million) and its annual investment in culture to $300 million (from $200 million), which encompasses the audiovisual industry and FestCampos. “FestCampos is our pet project,” he adds.

Over May 13-22, the Saint Benedict Parish of Capivari Square in Campos de Jordão has hosted the nightly video mapping projections of great artists. The projection of videos on objects or irregular surfaces was curated by Liquid Media lab.

“With the support of the culture and creative economy secretary of the São Paulo government and the Campos de Jordão City Hall, FestCampos was supposed to launch before the pandemic; its finally coming off for the local community,” says Fernanda Martins, curator and producer of FestCampos Talks. “The Winter Show is also a great networking opportunity so having FestCampos at the same time created a perfect storm for international players to look into the Brazilian marketplace,” she adds.


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