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Walter Salles

Occupation: Director
Also: Editor, producer

Born: April 12, 1956, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Birth Name: Walter Moreira Salles, Jr.

    Walter Moreira Salles, Jr. was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 12, 1956.  His father is Walter Moreira Salles, a Brazilian banker and ambassador.  His brother is João Moreira Salles, a filmmaker as well.  He attended the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

    His first notable film, Terra Estrangeira (Foreign Land), was shot in 1995, and was named Best Film of the Year in Brazil. It proceeded to win 8 international awards, including the Audience Grand Prize at the Rencontres Internationales de Cinéma de Paris and at the Film Festival of Bergamo and Film Festival of Belfort, and was selected by over 40 film festivals.

    Two of his next films were produced by Arthur Cohn, one of which (Central do Brasil, Central Station) received two nominations for the Oscar award (Best Foreign Film and Best Actress, for Fernanda Montenegro) and won 55 international awards, including the Golden Bear at the 1998 Berlin International Film Festival, the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film, the National Board of Review Award for Best Foreign Film, and the British Academy Film Award for Best Foreign Film.

    The other film produced by Cohn, Abril Despedaçado (Behind the Sun) has also been praised by critics and public alike. It was nominated for Best Foreign Film by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the National Board of Review and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts; and won the Audience Award (Leoncino d'Oro) at the 58th Venice International Film Festival.

    His next film is Diários de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries), a film about the life of young Ernesto Guevara, who later became known as Che Guevara.  It was Salles' first film not filmed in Portuguese, but rather in Spanish. It quickly topped the box office in Latin America and Europe, and was a bestseller in the USA. The film won the Hollywood World award at the 2004 Hollywood Film Festival was nominated to the European Film Award, and to the Cannes Film Festival. It was also nominated for two 2005 Oscar Awards, as Best Original Song and as Best Adapted Script.

    In 2005, Salles released his first English-language film, Dark Water, a remake of Hideo Nakata's Japanese thriller.  The film stars Jennifer Connelly, who plays an over-worked single mother who moves into a decrepit city apartment with her young daughter, and is confounded by a strange supernatural presence lurking in her apartment.  The film did relatively well at the box office, grossing almost $50 million worldwide.

    Salles was featured as one of the 21 directors who created a short film for the collaboration effort, Paris, je t'aime, and worked with Daniela Thomas to create the metaphorical short film, Loin du 16e, or Far From the 16th.  In the film, a young woman, played by Catalina Sandino Moreno, sings a Spanish lullaby to her baby before leaving it in a daycare.  She then drives an extremely long distance to the home of her rich employer, whose face is never shown, and sings the same lullaby to her employer's baby.

    Salles and Daniela Thomas collaborated again on the 2008 film, Linha de Passe, a film about four half-brothers who all have the same mother, but different fathers.  They live in a shantytown in Sao Paolo and are all searching for a better life.  Unlike City of God, the narrative focuses on the ways these youths try to keep themselves out of trouble, each focusing on a distinct goal: working hard, finding God, finding their dad, and achieving soccer stardom.  The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or award at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, and won for Best Actress (Sandra Corveloni).  It was Corveloni's first full-length motion picture.

    Currently, Salles is heading the project to adapt Jack Kerouac's On the Road to film.  A film adaptation has been in the works for years.  Francis Ford Coppola, who has owned the film rights since 1980, selected Walter Salles to head the project based on his work in The Motorcycle Diaries.
 

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