NiceUp talks to Cavi Borges, director of L.A.P.A. – a film about the melting pot and focal point of Rio’s vibrant music scene and the Brazilian artists that live and work there.

Cavi, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into film?

The hip-hop scene in Rio de Janeiro is totally underground. There are a lot of great MCs but nobody knows about them. The radio stations and television just shows American hip-hop. I directed L.A.P.A. with Emilio Domingos and we decided to showcase different artists – Brazilian artists – and show how they live and work with their music.  We decided to especially focus on hip-hop.

What gave you the inspiration to put together LAPA?

Lapa is a special place in Rio where lots of different people – rich, poor, black, white and foreign – spend great times together. It is a democratic place where you can see different kinds of events and music including samba, rock, hip-hop, dub, bossa nova and other new movements.

All the MCs live in suburban and peripheral places but every night they go to Lapa to sing, see concerts, meet news people and vibe about the music. Lapa is a common point for each MC. It is a place of cultural convergence. The place is very influential and it allows the different styles and types of music to mix and become something new.

Are you from Rio and do you live there now?

Yes. Lapa is fifteen minutes from my house by bus.

Is the hip-hop scene strong throughout the rest of Rio and Brazil?

Yes it is very strong but very underground too.

Who are your favourite hip-hop/reggae artists?

In Rio there is a very interesting soundsystem called Digital Dubs. They put together the sound-track for the film Dub Echoes by Bruno Natal which was released earlier this year. There is also a group called Racionais MCs who are from Sao Paulo and they are one of the most prominent hip-hop groups in Brazil.  They are a big influence on other groups and MC’s around the country.

Where else has the film been screened and how has it been received?

The film was screened in all of Brazil in different places and festivals. It has also screened in the USA in New York and Miami, Canada, Japan, France, England and Spain.

When I made the film I initially thought that it would just appeal to hip-hop musicians and the people that live in Rio. But after a few screenings in foreign countries, I saw the opposite. The people understood it and they liked it very much.

Are you working on any other film projects right now?

Yes we’re busy right now.  At the moment CAVIDEO, my production company, is making a lot of shorts films.  We’re also working on two feature documentaries – one about the history of reggae in Rio and another about a big accident in the favela City of God in 1996 when a lot of poor people died because of strong rain.

Any words for the massive?

It is a great pleasure to have my film LAPA screened in your country. Thanks a lot for this opportunity.

L.A.P.A. NZ screening details:
Friday 27 Nov @ The NZ Film Achive, WGTN, 7pm
Sunday 29 Nov @ Soundings Theatre, Te Papa, WGTN, 12pm
Film Premier After-Party, Friday 27 Nov @ San Fran Bathhouse, WGTN, 9.30pm – featuring Undercover, Ras Galho & The Jinetero’s

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