João Moreira Salles

João Moreira Salles was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1962. Founder of piauí magazine, film producer and documentarist, he directed Nelson Freire (2003), Entreatos [Intermissions] (2004), Santiago (2006), No intenso agora [In the Intense Now] (2017), among other feature films. Along with Branca Vianna Moreira Salles, he founded the first private Brazilian institute to the promotion of science, Serrapilheira. He also lectured documentary classes at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RJ) and at Princeton University.

In 1987, along with his brother Walter Salles Jr.—the awarded director of Abril despedaçado [Behind the Sun] and On the Road—, he started Videofilmes, one of the most important production companies of the so-called “cinema da retomada” (1995-2002), a blooming period in the country’s filmmaking after a long hiatus of the industry. Among the titles produced are Lavoura arcaica [To the Left of the Father] by Luiz Fernando Carvalho; Madame Satã by Karim Aïnouz; Babilônia 2000 and Edifício Master [Master, a Building in Copacabana] by Eduardo Coutinho.

In that same year, João directed China, o Império do Centro and wrote the script for the documentary Krajcberg, o poeta dos vestígios, for which he received awards in Italy, Cuba and Brazil. He was also the recipient of an award in Paris for the TV special Blues (1990), a co-production aired by Manchete network. Between 1991 and 1996, he worked in advertising. In 1998, João released the series Futebol, co-directed by Arthur Fontes. The following year, with Kátia Lund, came Notícias de uma guerra particular [News from a Personal War], a documentary about the drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro and its impact on the community.

Between May 1999 and May 2000, João coordinated a group formed by journalists Dorrit Harazim, Flávio Pinheiro, Marcos Sá Corrêa, Zuenir Ventura and filmmakers Arthur Fontes and Izabel Jaguaribe. They worked on a series of feature films mixing artistic experimentation and investigative journalism. With the purpose of showing Brazil under a new light, the docuseries entitled 6 histórias brasileiras [6 Brazilian Stories] premiered in August 2000, with two episodes directed by João.

In 2002, João Moreira Salles released Nelson Freire, about the career of the world-renowned classical pianist. Later that year, he filmed the backstages of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s presidential campaign for the documentary Entreatos [Intermissions, 2004]. In 2007, he released Santiago, an affective documentary about a former butler of the Moreira Salles family, and in 2017 came No intenso agora [In the Intense Now], made with archive footage from cultural movements of the 1960s such as the Prague Spring and May 68 in France.

Books by João Moreira Salles