Three Questions for Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon (BEIRA-MAR)

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Marcio Reolon is a screenwriter, distributor, and filmmaker based in Brazil. As a director and producer, his short films and documentaries have played to acclaim on the international festival circuit. His first feature, Beira-Mar, was directed with Filipe Matzembacher, and had its World Premiere in competition for the Teddy Award at the 2015 Berlinale.

Filipe Matzembacher is an actor, producer, and filmmaker based in Brazil. In 2014, Reolon and Matzembacher were awarded a screenwriting grant by the Hubert Bals Fund for their script Neonboy. In 2015, their debut film was released on DVD and Video-on-Demand in the United States by Wolfe Video as Seashore. The Portuguese-language film continues to tour internationally.

Marcio Reolon and Filipe Matzembacher, partners of Avante Filmes in Brazil, spoke with Sean Malin of C.M. Film Commentary and Criticism about their premiere in Germany, queer filmmaking communities, and their expectations for the film’s release in their native Brazil. This interview has been transcribed, edited, and compressed from audio for publication.

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Sean Malin: When I saw Beira-Mar, it was with an American title – Seashore – and had already been picked up for distribution in the U.S. through Wolfe Video. But it’s a Brazilian queer film: what’s the reception to the film been like from its domestic audience?

Filipe Matzembacher: Actually, as of now [August 2015], we haven’t screened it in Brazil yet. *Laughs* Our premiere will be in the coming months, and then we will be taking it around the commercial circuit around November sometime. So we do not really know about how it will go yet, except that when Brazilian people have seen it in film festivals around the world, they seem to really enjoy it. That’s all we have so far.

SM: As an American viewer, I see a lot of images of the queer community in the media but am widely unfamiliar with the social situation in Brazil, especially in the region you shot in. Is a viewer from my kind of background in danger of missing substantial nuances and details that a Brazilian or Portuguese-speaking viewer might catch?

FM: No, not at all – the movie is much more about universal feelings and experiences than anything “American” or “Brazilian.” The story is about friendship –

Marcio Reolon: And about youth, too.

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FM: Yeah, it’s about growing up. It’s meant as a universal story, and we don’t expect many aspects to be too different from [Tomaz and Martin, the main characters’] experiences. What they are going through in the film, everyone goes through at a particular stage in their lives, I feel.

MR: You should be all right.

SM: The film had its World Premiere at the Berlinale [in competition for the Teddy Award]; the queer communities in Germany, both on film and in reality, are quite distinct from those in Brazil or the United States. Were reactions to Beira-Mar surprising to either of you?

FM: I was very surprised by how warm people were to us regarding the film. All of our screenings were completely full. During the Q&A sessions, people would ask each other for the microphone and would say quite emotional things about how they could connect with the story, the characters, the feelings. We both got really emotional messages on Facebook from people saying the film kind of opened doors for them – they were sharing very beautiful things, and very private things, with us. As of now, they still are.

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