BrazilFoundation was the Community Partner to the first Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival (LABRFF) held March 7-9. At a Pre-Festival Benefit Reception hosted by BrazilFoundation on March 6th at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica, 150 people joined in celebration of the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival. This was also an opportunity to honor Ambassador Thereza Maria Machado Quintella, Consul General of Brazil in Los Angeles, for highlighting the many vital aspects of Brazilian culture, industry, commerce and traditions for Angelinos, and who is retiring next May. She deeply appreciated the honor and joked that “it made [her] feel like she was at the Oscars ceremony!

Ambassador Thereza Maria Machado Quintella, Consul General of Brazil in Los Angeles

Walter and Wagner Caldas's performance.

Contributing to the success of the evening were Walter and Wagner Caldas, two young violinists from the Orchestra da Grota do Surucucu, a project of Reciclarte, a grantee of the foundation in an at-risk neighborhood of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro. The Caldas twins are now studying music on scholarship at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). They were introduced by their UNI music professor, John Valentine and performed several classical pieces. Wagner, who is also a gifted singer, gave a rendition of the Louis Armstrong standard, “What a Wonderful World”, which made the audience cheer!

Thanks to the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival, which is now planned as an annual offering, Brazilian film has a chance to get the mainstream recognition it deserves – for its cinematic creativity and its courage in addressing Brazil’s social ills, which are all the more unsettling for existing in conjunction with the country’s beauty and riches. The Festival provided a singular opportunity for BrazilFoundation Directors Marcus Vinicius Ribeiro and Vanessa Simone Pereira and Manager of the Foundation’s Expansion program – Lilian Miller, to introduce BrazilFoundation and its mission.

Rodrigo Veloso and Emilie Fritz Veloso

LABRFF’s organizers, Meire and Nazareno Fernandes, in addition to running a very exciting festival, demonstrated their support for BrazilFoundation by inviting it to be the Festival’s only non-profit partner. The Festival helped enlist 60 new FRIENDS of BrazilFoundation – including Roberto Santucci, the Festival’s award winner for the film Riding High. The FRIENDS & PARTNERS of BrazilFoundation Campaign has created a vital community of supporters who help the Foundation promote the work of the non-profit sector in Brazil and extend the Foundation’s donor base to various regions in the U.S. where there are significant Brazilian populations.

The Foundation was pleased to have its 30-second public service announcement, produced by GOL Marketing, screened between viewings of the 40 films presented at the Festival. At closing night our PSA was applauded by a theater filled with 300-plus people – a clear recognition that the role of the Foundation was taken to heart. Many in the audience made it a point to stop by BrazilFoundation’s table for additional information provided by the Foundation’s dedicated volunteers, L.A. artists Rose Lobo and Sandra Zebi.

Special thanks for making this a very special event go to all members of the Benefit Committee. Diana Taylor, a Los Angeles psychologist and member of the Committee, introduced the evening’s honoree, Ambassador Quintella. She also spoke passionately about Ambassador Quintella’s work and how she inspired so many in L.A. to find the best in ourselves and to make a difference.

Other members of the Benefit Committee were Aaron and Raquel Davies, Cyro Duarte, Meire Fernandes, Jacob Forman, Adriana Gomez, Oswaldo Kuono, Ignez Penna, Marthina Sochodolak and Rodrigo Veloso – all of whom provided enthusiasm and invaluable help in organizing the Foundation’s benefit event. Rodrigo and Emilie Veloso of O.N.E. World Enterprises donated delicious O.N.E. coconut water, adding a very Brazilian taste to the evening. Jet Blue helped bring Wagner and Walter Caldas to the Festival and Pizzato Vinhos e Vinhas sponsored the Foundation’s cocktail reception on March 6th.

The Foundation is grateful for the media coverage in Brazil and in the US of this event.

Jornal O Globo – article in portuguese (
Revista Sete ( – article in portuguese
Brazzil Magazine (
Los Angeles Guide (

photos by Dennis W. Butler /

BrazilFoundation’s Pre-Festival Benefit Reception

Walter Caldas with actress Daniela Escobar

Ambassador Thereza Maria Machado Quintella, Elaine Sugimura, President Alpargatas USA, and Lilian Miller, BrazilFoundation National Expansion Manager

Diana Taylor

Marcus Vinicius Ribeiro, BrazilFoundation's Director honoring Ambassador Thereza Maria Machado Quintella, Consul General of Brazil in Los Angeles

Vanessa Pereira and Minister Affonso Jose Santos

Professor John Valentine, Director of Music Department at UNI where Walter and Wagner Caldas are studying music.

Wagner Caldas and Walter Caldas performing "Tico Tico no Fuba"

Wagner Caldas gives a rendition of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World"

Wagner Caldas

Wagner Caldas addressing the audience

AnnaClara Herrmann with Walter and Wagner Caldas

Andre Cavanha, Editor, Revista Sete, James White, Executive Director, Christopher Isherwood Foundation and Eduardo Belmont

Nazareno Paulo, co-founder of LABRFF being interviewed by Gisele Claudiane

Marjorie Andrade

Maria Bofill and M. Carolina Gedeon-Pugh

Marcus Vinicius, Vanessa Robert, Wagner Caldas, Walter Caldas, Anna Clara Herrmann, Marta Micheli, Bia Vasconcellos, Laura Neves and Tereza Neves.

Martin Mitchel, Gilmara Mitchel, Wagner Caldas, Diana Taylor, Amb. Thereza Quintella and Walter Caldas

Rodney Alves and Diana Taylor

Gisele Claudino, Adriana Souza e Daniela Escobar

Gisele Claudino and Joao Ramos

Andrea Souza

Marjorie Andrade and Vanessa Pereira, sided by Wagner and Walter Caldas

Marthina Sochodolak

Aline Schmidt, Julia Melim and Gisele Claudino

Wagner Caldas, Marjorie Andrade and Lilian Miller

Adriana Gomes, Raquel Davies, Aaron Davies, Sandra Zebi, Andrea Souza and Rose Lobo

Marthina Sochodolak, Adriana Gomes and Raquel Davies

João Ramos, Wagner Caldas, Lou Capuzzo Peixoto, Walter Caldas and Andre Cavanha of Revista Sete

BrazilFoundation Volunteers in Los Angeles: Marthina Sochololak, Rodrigo Veloso, Adriana Gomes, Raquel Davies, Aaron Davies, Sandra Zebi, Andrea Souza, Rose Lobo, Maria Cecilia Freitas, Ignes Penna

Marcus Vinicius Ribeiro, Vanessa Robert, Wagner and Walter Caldas

Gisele Claudine and Andre Cavanha

Actress Daniela Escobar

BrazilFoundation at LABRFF 2008 – March7-9

Karina Tavares, actor Fabio Assunção and Meire Fernandes

Miriam Melim and Actress Julia Melim

The First Los Angeles Film Festival (LABRFF 2008) Opening Night - World Premier of "Bellini and the Devil"

Theodoro Fontes, Director of "Bellini and the Devil"

Professor Randal Johnson with daughter Gabriela Johnson

Jonathan Greene

Bia Vasconcellos

Ambassador Quintella visits BrazilFoundation booth at LABRFF 2008

Director of "Riding High" Roberto Santucci and Aaron Davies

Kelly Richardson and John Ungareti

Meire Fernandes, Founder of LABRFF and Publicist Karina Tavares

Karina Tavares and Fabio Assunção

Sandra Zebi, Aaron Davies, Rose Lobo and Allen Resnick

Evelyn Sochodolak and Marthina Sochodolak

Rose Lobo, Marcelo Gomes and Sandra Zebi

AnnaClara Hermann, Fabio Assuncao, Marjorie Andrade and Lilian Miller

Actress Rita Guedes

Laura Neves

Lilian Miller and Sandra Zebi

Lilian Miller, Daniel Lobo and Raquel Davies