Sunday, January 20, 2008

YouTube film contest winner

A professional author and screenwriter in her native Brazil, she's contributed to some 15 scripts, including A Maquina (The Machine), which screened at film festivals internationally, and Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias, O (The Year My Parents Went on Vacation), which Brazil's Ministry of Culture submitted for the 2007 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

But Falcao is totally new to making films specifically for the Web, as she did with Lacos (Ties), the six-minute short that not only made her the winner of YouTube's Project Direct contest, it landed her a nine-day stay here at the Sundance Film Festival. Her expenses are being paid by Hewlett-Packard, which sponsored the contest. In addition to the trip, she'll get the opportunity to meet with Fox Searchlight Pictures production executives.

"This moved me and affected me so much," Falcao said through Braga, adding that she's now working on a film that relates to the way people use the Internet and is also planning other Web-based projects.

It was Falcao's 18-year-old daughter, Clarice, an actress, songwriter, singer, and YouTube aficionado, who first learned about contest. Project Direct is a followup to YouTube's similar competitions in the music and comedy realms, said You Tube spokeswoman Jennifer Nielsen.

Collegue Flavia Lacerda filmed the picture in one day, and they spent one day editing.

"The whole thing cost $500 and took three days." And it was quite a family effort. Falcao's 15-year-old daughter handled the very modest wardrobe.

Missing from Sundance, sadly, is Clarice, who couldn't get a visa in the month or so between when the contest results were announced and when Sundance began on Thursday.

And it helps residents of Brazil, one of Latin America's leaders in Internet use, feel less isolated from the rest of the world, she said. Feel free to watch funny utube videos. Now, however, Falcao's husband, a film director who is almost 50 years old, is hooked. So is her 90-year-old uncle. "His life is YouTube," she said, adding that every day her uncle sends her a link to view.

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