Fernando Meirelles was born in a middle class family in São Paulo City, Brazil.
He studied architecture at the university of São Paulo. At the same time he developed an interest in filmmaking. With a group of friends he started producing experimental videos. They won a huge number of awards in Brazilian film festivals. After that, the group formed a small independent company called Olhar Eletrônico.
After working in independent television during nine years, in the eighties Meirelles gravitated towards publicity and commercials. He also became the director of a very popular children's television show.
In the early 90s, together with Paulo Morelli and Andrea Barata Ribeiro, he opened the O2 Filmes production company. His first feature, in 1998, was the family film "Menino Maluquinho 2: A Aventura". His next feature, "Domésticas" (2001), exposed the invisible world of five Brazilian maids in São Paulo and their secret dreams and desires.
In 1997 he read the Brazilian best-seller "Cidade de Deus/City of God", written by Paulo Lins, and decided to turn it into a movie despite an intimidating story that involves more than 350 characters. Once the screenplay, written by Bráulio Mantovani, was ready, Meirelles gathered a crew mixed with professional technicians and inexperienced actors chosen between the youngsters living in the favelas surrounding Rio de Janeiro.
The film was a huge success in Brazil and began to attract attention around the world after it screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002. "Cidade de Deus/City of God" (2003) has won awards from film festivals and societies all over the world, as well as four 2004 Oscar nominations, including a Best Director for Fernando Meirelles.
|Ciça Meirelles||(? - present) 2 children|
Member of the Juri of the 29th São Paulo International Film Festival, held in São Paulo, Brazil, from October 21st to November 3rd 2005.
Founded the studio Olhar Eletrônico with a group of friends in the 80s.
His father was a doctor.
Has two sisters named Márcia and Silvinha.
Has a son named Francisco "Kiko" Meirelles and a daughter named Carolina Meirelles.
Married to a ballerina, Ciça.
His favorite director is Paul Thomas Anderson.
At the age of twelve, his father gave him a video-camera as a present.
Directed the video that promoted Rio de Janeiro as the city host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Owns a cemetery in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil.
I've always been very independent, I've always produced my own things; I don't know how to share. A big studio invests a lot of money, and they want control. I'm not prepared for that yet.
Harvey Weinstein liked "City of God" from the beginning. He didn't want to change anything. When the film's release was done, he called me to say, "This film deserves more than it got, and we're going to spend money and do a campaign, and we're gonna get nominations." From the business side, it was a bad experience, but I would do it again. I don't think I signed a good contract. I didn't really believe in the film. It was a low-budget Brazilian film in Portuguese -- what can a film like this do? Harvey liked the film more than I did. They paid exactly what was on the contract.
I'm going to do some big film at some point but not now. My ideal career would be to do what Pedro Almodovar does (in Spain). I'd like to make Brazilian films for international audiences that are not big-budget. This would be the best.
This is the part that I like most, in the process, is to edit and try to find the story. Sometimes you think you have a film, and then you change something and it becomes different. It's a wonderful job. Because it surprises you.
I never stop working on a film. I can't help myself.
If you do a film with a high budget, people want to control it. Marketing people tell you what to do, and where to cut, so they can get their money back. I am more interested in doing smaller films that I can control.
When you do a film, everything is related to point-of-view, to vision. When you have two characters in a dialog, emotion is expressed by the way people look at each other, through the eyes. Especially in the cut, the edit. You usually cut when someone looks over. Film is all about point-of-view...
It's much easier to shoot in English, [as it provides, at least, for] a decent budget so I can do what I have in mind.
I really recommend you, Sunday morning if you have nothing to do, wake up in the morning, put [on] a blindfold and stay 'til 4, 5 in the afternoon. It's really fantastic!" He explains: "Sound and smell is much enhanced, but also your thoughts, because you can't read, you can't be distracted, so you're with yourself.
An architect is somebody who really doesn't know how to build a building. [They need engineers, just as directors rely on writers and actors. What both architects and directors do bring is] a vision.
[Blindness (2008)] is not about blind people, it's about human nature, about people who have just gone blind with no time for any adaptation. The only character who's really blind (Maury Chaykin) is completely adapted and so efficient that he's able to control all the others. I never even thought that the film could hurt blind people, because that's not what it is about. I know some artists, scientists or businessmen that are blind and brilliant in their jobs. We all know that.
(April 2008) Producing a Brazilian version of the Canadian cable series "Slings and Arrows" (2003)
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