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Fantasy Meets Reality in Rio de Janeiro’s Red Light District

A hazy, spectral short depicts a stark reality in Rio de Janeiro’s oldest red-light district. “Vila Mimosa is an up-to-date urban version of what areas of prostitution might have looked like in the medieval ages,” says fledging Brazilian filmmaker Kayhan Ozmen, who shot on location and with local sex workers. In Portuguese, ‘Mimosa’ usually translates to take its name from the word ‘lovable’ or ‘tender,’ a fact that contrasts with the stark economics of a place that houses over 2,000 women and generates $430,000 USD by welcoming around 4,000 clients each day. “There's a very apocalyptic feeling that surrounds the area,” says the former professional tennis player turned director, who cast Alvinho Lancellotti, a fellow carioca and well-known figure in of MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) to play a curious man wandering the infamous area at night. “I wanted to highlight the repeated daily story of men who try to find ‘fun’ in a very unfriendly environment.”

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    The Last Impresario: Michael White

    The Story of the Playboy Producer Who Mentored Kate Moss

    Kate Moss said he was the only one who could keep up with her. To Anna Wintour, he knew everybody on the planet. Billed as “the most famous person you’ve never heard of,” enigmatic British producer Michael ‘Chalky’ White steps into the limelight with Gracie Otto’s comprehensive feature documentary, The Last Impresario. Set against the heady cultural backdrop of the 1960s and 1970s, the London theater and film tycoon took a slingshot to the establishment with his trailblazing productions that included The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Pina Bausch and Yoko Ono,. “To be a successful theater producer you also have to be a gambler, and Michael was prepared to take incredible risks,” says Otto, who became engrossed with White following a chance encounter at Cannes. “He created an amazing network of friends: Facebook before Facebook was created.” White, who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award at the prodigious Olivier Awards in London earlier this year, comes across on camera as a man of few words but his vast archive of off-duty snapshots of Jack Nicholson, Nicole Kidman and Christopher Reeve speaks volumes. “Kate Moss and Michael share a birthday, and people said he discovered her,” adds the director. “She hardly does any interviews so it was a real coup, and she was completely happy to share stories of Chalky.”

    The Last Impresario is released in UK cinemas and on demand from September 26.

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    Shorts on Sundays: Wildcat

    Kahlil Joseph's Film Meditates on the Origins of an All-Black Rodeo in Oklahoma

    A dreamlike narrative binds cowboy and an angelic specter clad in white in director Kahlil Joseph's exploration of a little-known African-American rodeo subculture. Joseph, who is part of the Los Angeles-based What Matters Most film collective, visited the annual August rodeo in the sparsely populated Oklahoma town of Grayson (previously Wildcat), an event that attracts African-American bull riders, barrel racers and cowgirls from all over the Midwest and southern USA. He set out to celebrate the origins of the rodeo by paying respect to the spirit of Aunt Janet, a member of the family who founded the event, passed away last year and is embodied as the young girl in the film. “Black people are light years more advanced than the ideas and images that circulate would have you believe. The spaces we control and exist are my ground zero for filming, at least so far, and there are opportunities for me to tap into the energy,” says Joseph who has also made films for musicians including Shabazz Palaces and Seu Jorge. “So an all-black town with an all-black rodeo in the American heartland was a kind of vortex or portal through which I could actually show this.” Wildcat is scored by experimental musician Flying Lotus, who has previously collaborated with Joseph on a short to accompany his 2012 album Until the Quiet Comes, which is showing during Sundance London this weekend.

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