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IDFA Award Winner 'Canuto’s Transformation' Debuts Trailer

Sales agency Utopia Docs has shared the international trailer in exclusivity with Variety for “Canuto’s Transformation,” winner of the best film and outstanding artistic contribution awards in the Envision section of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

After IDFA, the film was selected at ​Taiwan Documentary Festival​, Cinelatino Toulouse, Jean Rouch Film Festival and Tempo Doc Fest. Descoloniza Filmes will distribute the film in Brazil.

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The film, directed by Ariel Kuaray Ortega and Ernesto de Carvalho, is based on the strange tale of Canuto, a man who mysteriously transformed into a jaguar and then died a tragic death. It mixes documentary and a re-enactment of the story of Canuto with all parts played by villagers from a Mbyá-Guaraní community nestled on the border between Brazil and Argentina.

This film is the culmination of more than a decade of collaboration between Ortega and de Carvalho, which started as a teacher-student relationship, during video workshops in Mbyá-Guarani communities of southern Brazil, and developed into a friendship and encompassing several film projects.

In a statement, the directors said: “In the beginning we made documentaries, in a more direct cinema style, based on daily life, on memory, on the territory, attempted to open a space for the polyphony of the Guarani world, translated into cinema. The story of Canuto has followed us as something we wanted to approach from the early stages of our partnership. But slowly, experimenting with form, we found our own way to tell this story.”

They added that they crafted this film with the intention of bringing the viewer on a journey that crosses frontiers between Brazil and Argentina, fiction and documentary, human and animal and real people and fictionalized characters.

“Our main character, since his childhood, showed the signs of the dreaded disease which is the transformation into a jaguar, a dangerous animal. The story concerns the risks of stepping outside humanity, outside the bonds that unite a community, and connects people.

“We find, in the act of filmmaking itself, key elements that help us understand what that transformation means. And with that we approach the drama of telling that story, with the strong complicity of the entire Mbyá-Guarani community that lived through the events narrated, decades ago.

“Along the way we find unexpected things: a child actor that is the closest incarnation of the character we could possibly hope for, a phantasmagoric wooden structure in the center of the community that makes us think about the world outside, and the colonial story of violence that crosses the community, and events that reshape the lives of everyone involved.”

Canuto's Transformation
Poster for “Canuto’s Transformation”

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