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Love In The Time of Cholera closing Rio tonight

After a marathon 1,400 screenings of more than 300 films, Festival do Rio, the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, has its closing gala tonight, Wednesday October 3 evening, having held its biggest attention-grabber until last.

The centre of fevered media interest, the festival's official screening closer will see the world premiere of Golden Globe Award-winning producer Scott Steindorff's $50 million screen adaptation of Nobel Prize winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Love In The Time of Cholera.

Directed by the UK's Mike Newell, and faithfully scripted by Ronald Harwood, whose screen adaptation for Roman Polanski's The Pianist earned him a 2003 Oscar, the film is a sprawling Latin American saga set in the late 19th century and first decades of the 20th century, revolving around a fifty-year love triangle and explores the idea that true love is timeless.

Shot in Cartagena, Colombia, by Brazilian cinematographer Affonso Beato and starring an Award winning Latin cast including Javier Bardem, Brazil's Fernanda Montenegro, and Colombian-born US actor John Leguizamo the screening in Rio is a major coup for festival directors Ilda Santiago and Iafa Britz who spent the last year working on convincing producer Scott Steindorff and his production outfit Stone Village Pictures to premiere his film at the Rio festival.

"We heard the film was in production during last year's festival," says Ilda Santiago. "We decided then that we wanted it for this year's closing. Fortunately our persistence worked. It is the perfect film to close our Latin-centred film festival."

The film has been picked up locally by Fox Latin America whose Executive Vice President Eduado Echeverria says: "Movie goers all over the region and beyond will be blown away by Mike Newell's masterpiece. This amazing and spectacular film brings justice to the brilliant, romantic novel from Marquez."

Golden Globe winning producer Steindorff said: "We can't imagine a better homecoming for the film."

Director Mike Newell, cinematographer Affonso Beato, producer Scott Steindorff, executive producers Dylan Russell and Scott La Staiti and actors Catalina Sandino Moreno and Marcela Mar have arrived in Brazil to attend tonight's closing gala screening at Rio's Odeon BR Cinema, Cinelandia, 21:30 hrs.

They are joined this afternoon by actress Fernanda Montenegro and music director Antonio Pinto at the film's official press conference (Hotel Sofitel, Copacabana, 14h00).

The 9th edition of Festival do Rio, which opened here September 20 and concludes Thursday 4th, has already proven the busiest in its history with audience figures showing a 20% increase over last year, no doubt boosted by the fact that this year's festival programme has included virtually every major prize winning film from 2007's international festivals.

The Festival officially ends tomorrow with its prize-giving ceremony.

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