Coronavirus Updates: USC  |  SCA

Contemporary South American Cinema: A Panel Discussion

April 7, 2013, 6:30 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The School of Cinematic Arts and Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative, in collaboration with the USC Libraries' Boeckmann Center for Iberian & Latin American Studies, Latino Graduate Student Association, Office of International Services, Spanish Undergraduate Student Association (SUSA), and USC Gould School of Law, invite you and a guest to

Contemporary South American Cinema:
A Panel Discussion


Featuring Writer/Director KLEBER MENDONCA FILHO (Neighboring Sounds), SANDRO FIORIN (VP Acquisition & Sales, FiGa Films), ALEX GARCIA (VP Distribution, FiGa Films), Writer/Producer GUSTAVO ROJO (La Casa Muda/The Silent House) and Writer/Director SEBASTIAN SILVA (The Maid/La Nana, Old Cats), Moderated by SCA Director of Programming ALESSANDRO AGO.
Discussion topics will include current trends in South American cinema, the commercial industry and domestic markets, distribution, genre production, common themes, and co-production strategies.

6:30 P.M. on Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The Ray Stark Family Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Presented as part of Contemporary South American Cinema, a 3-day V&V showcase of recent films from across the continent.


About the Panelists

Kleber Mendonça Filho -- Writer/Director, Neighboring Sounds

Kleber Mendonça Filho was born in 1968 in Recife, Brazil. He graduated with a degree in journalism and has worked extensively as a film critic as and as the programmer of Recife’s top alternative cinema. In the 90s he made documentaries, experimental films and fiction. Over the last decade, his short films have won over 100 awards in Brazil and abroad, with selections in Karlovy-Vary, BAFICI, Rotterdam, Recontres Cinemas D’Amerique Latine de Toulouse, Clermont-Ferrand and Cannes. His first feature, the documentary Critico, focused on the troubled relationship between filmmakers and critics through a personal series of interviews recorded over a period of eight years. Neighboring Sounds is his first fictional feature.

Sandro Fiorin -- VP Acquisition & Sales, FiGa Films

Brazilian born Sandro Fiorin founded FiGa Films in Los Angeles on January 2006 with partner, Cuban-American Alex Garcia, to discover and distribute Latin American content in North America, as well as represent them worldwide.

Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Fiorin went to film school in São Paulo (FAAP) and New York (New School), where he lived and worked for 14 years, before relocating to California in 2001. He is fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish.

Positions at the Film Forum, Universal, and First Look Films are part of his 18-year career in the industry. He is a Programming Associate for the Latin American Film Festival at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Artistic Director of the IndieBrazil Film Festival in Los Angeles.  

Mr. Fiorin has been invited as a jury member and to conduct panel discussions on the state of alternative distribution in Sundance, San Sebastian, Cannes, Rotterdam, Toulouse, and several other festivals. Since 2010, he has been involved in the production of awarded projects such as Verano de Goliat, Los Viejos, and Avanti Popolo.

Alex Garcia -- VP Distribution, FiGa Films

Alex Garcia founded FiGa Films (with Sandro Fiorin) in 2006 with the intent of discovering and distributing the best of Latin American cinema. It has since become a sales agency in 2008, acquiring new films for worldwide sales, and associate producers (2010) in projects in development.

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Mr. Garcia attended film school at Columbia College/Hollywood where he now teaches film editing, bringing his experience and knowledge of working in that capacity for 24 years. He has been invited to numerous festivals as a panelist to discuss the state of foreign film distribution and new media. He is of Cuban decent and is fluent in Spanish and mastering Portuguese.

Gustavo Rojo -- Writer (Story by)/Producer, La Casa Muda/The Silent House

Gustavo Rojo is the producer and founder of Montevideo-based production company Contenidos TV, which focuses and has been very successful with TV production since 2004. In 2010, Gustavo produced La Casa Muda (dir. Gustavo Hernandez) which was selected at the Director's Fortnight at Cannes and attracted the attention for its low-cost ($8,000) and its international sales success. The film was remade in the US by Chris Kentis as Silent House which premiered at Sundance 2011.

Sebastián Silva -- Writer/Director, The Maid/La Nana, Old Cats

Sebastián Silva was born in Santiago, Chile in 1979. He studied filmmaking at the Escuela de Cine de Chile in Santiago and English at McGill University in Montreal, while pursuing his career as an artist and musician. His second feature, THE MAID, won the World Cinema Jury Prize (Dramatic) at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. His fourth feature, CRYSTAL FAIRY, premiered as an Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. LIFE KILLS ME is his first feature film.

Alessandro Ago -- Moderator, SCA Director of Programming

Ago is the Director of Programming and Special Projects at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he programs film screenings, festivals, guest speakers and special events. Ago also curates Outside the Box [Office], a screening series dedicated to bringing new international, documentary and independent cinema to USC. He oversees all Deans Council Visions and Voices programming for the School of Cinematic Arts and has produced festivals celebrating the work of John Wayne, Roger Corman, Costa Gavras, Maurice Jarre, Albert Broccoli and the James Bond franchise, as well as world cinema showcases focusing on Japan, Italy, Bollywood and the Middle East. He is currently teaching a course on Italian Genre Cinema at USC and hosting a full series retrospective of the landmark ABC TV series, Twin Peaks.


About FiGa Films

FiGa Films releases fiction and documentaries of any length in the Art-house theatre circuit in North America, as well as on TV, on the Internet, and on home-video. Its growing library contains critically acclaimed, award-winning films, acquired at top film festivals around the world.

Privately funded in 2006, FiGa is a true independent voice for the best in filmmaking coming from Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the rest of the world. Long lasting relationships, with a personal approach, are fundamental to co-founders Sandro Fiorin and Alex Garcia. 

The Company launched its International Sales and Producing arm at the 2008 Locarno Film Festival. FiGa’s first co-production, Nicolas Pereda’s Verano de Goliat (Mexico 2010) won the Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival that same year. Los Viejos (Bolivia 2011), A Floresta de Jonathas (Brazil 2012) and Zach Weintraub’s You Make Me Fell so Young (USA 2013) followed up.

FiGa’s mission is to select and sell worldwide rights of features and docs with social relevance, by up and coming directors. Distributing up to 6 films per year in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Argentina, it is raising the bar and becoming the home of the New Latin Cinema & Beyond.


About the Contemporary South American Cinema Showcase

In recent years, much international attention has been focused on the film industries in South America, from the recent Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for Argentina’s The Secret in Their Eyes, to the sensational blockbuster success of Brazilian filmmaker Jose Padilha’s Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, the highest grossing film in South American history, surpassing even Avatar. This multiple-day event will examine the work of South American filmmakers, highlighting contemporary films from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and others.

View the full schedule of screenings at

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:00 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $10.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

About Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative

Visions and Voices is a university-wide arts and humanities initiative that is unparalleled in higher education. The initiative was established by USC President C. L. Max Nikias during his tenure as provost in order to fulfill the goals set forth in USC's strategic plan; to communicate USC's core values to students; and to affirm the human spirit. Emphasizing the university's commitment to interdisciplinary approaches, the initiative features a spectacular array of events conceived and organized by faculty and schools throughout the university. The series includes theatrical productions, music and dance performances, conferences, lectures, film screenings and many other special events both on and off campus. Each program invites students to dialogue and interact with artists, writers, professors and special guests. These interactions provide a dynamic experience of the arts and humanities and encourage active exploration of USC's core values, including freedom of inquiry and expression, team spirit, appreciation of diversity, commitment to serving one's community, entrepreneurial spirit, informed risk-taking, ethical conduct and the search for truth.

For more information, visit

Produced by Alessandro Ago for the USC School of Cinematic Arts

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago