Fernando Meirelles (born 1955)

The Life of Brazilian Entertainment Legend Fernando Meirelles

Fernando Meirelles, born on November 9, 1955, is currently a film director, producer, and screenwriter based in Brazil. He went to study at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of São Paulo in the 80s. His graduation work was completed and turned in as a film, instead of the common traditional designs of the other students, he went above and beyond by traveling to Japan and buying professional video equipment to do the job. He presented it and just barely graduated with the minimum grade.

While studying architecture at the University of São Paulo, Meirelles became involved in experimental film-making. After many years of independent television work, he went onto working as an advertisement film director. Meirelles is still a valued partner of the O2 Filmes, the most popular Brazilian advertisement firm, which helped produce City of God, Domésticas (Maids) and Viva Voz. Along with four of his close friends, Meirelles kickstarted his career in the area experimental films. Even when his old friends bailed out on him to form their own independent company, it wasn’t long before new friends joined the group.

In 1982, Meirelles’s company aired TV programs on current affairs, as well as the highly anticipated children’s series Castelo Rá-Tim-Bum. That series was so popular, that it went on to air 180 more episodes. In addition, to all the high praise, Meirelles and his company also invented a new humorous informality in news reporting.
By the end of the 80s, Meirelles became so interested in the advertising field. In 1990, Meirelles and friends closed down the company and opened a new advertising business called O2 Films. It wasn’t that long until he became known as the most important advertising producer.

His first experiences with cinema work occurred while working with his father, whose job was to often direct 8 mm films at the university. His father produced mostly western and thriller parodies, which included his relatives and friends as actors. Starting at age 11, in 1967, Meirelles went to spend a year in the United States, specifically in California, where all the major film making took place. Meirelles also had a contact with the hippie movement, he showed great interest in. A few years later at age 13, using a borrowed Super 8 camera, Meirelles went on to produce smaller films, based of his inspiration for Norman McLaren’s animations.

His is best known for his produced film City of God. It was released in 2002 in his hometown country of Brazil. It released one year later in the United States by Miramax Films, which received some international critism. His work in the film, was eventually nominated for an Academy Award Best Director. In addition, Meirelles was nominated for the Golden Globe Award under Best Director during the year of 2005. The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress went to Rachel Weisz. Another big work he directed, was the 2008 adaptation of José Saramago’s novel Blindness, and film 360 produced several years later.