Director: Patricia Maresch | Producer: Favela Documentary/Patricia Maresch
Focus Years: 2008 | Country: Brazil
The real City of God. Vila Cruzeiro is one of the most violent slum areas in Rio de Janeiro, at times a no-go area for the police where the drug gangs rule. But the favela does have its own unique beauty, and in this simply shot but hugely affecting documentary, four young people show us their lives and speak about their dreams. They did everything themselves: from operating the camera to interviewing each other to deciding what makes the final cut. 22 year-old Diogo wants to be an actor; 16 year-old Mayra dreams of being a history student; 17 year-old Luis longs to be a ballet dancer; while Dudu, 25, is a father of two, an ex-child-soldier for one of the drug-trafficking commandos. Mayra Avellar, who features in this film and helped create it, has recently been awarded the 4th International Children's Peace Prize for her courageous work attempting to counter the violence of Vila Cruzeiro and stand up for the rights of children and young people.