I have always enjoyed pranks. Wether it be Canal Boom, Sylvio Santos “Pegadinhas” or
SA Wardega and his unique scary type pranks. I love them all.
I first received an email from Pawel from Poland about a month ago about interest to come to Rocinha to film. I have had many filmmakers come in to the favela in the past 10 years so this is nothing new. They wanted good things to film about favelas. Pawel told me that he had some friends that would come with him to film. We set the plan in motion.
So Pawel came with 3 others. The crew consisted of Sylwester Adam Wardega, Monica Kolakowska and Daniel Rusin. A little background on the three filmmakers, they all have youtube channels. Sylwester’s focuses on pranks, Daniel on social experiments, and Monica on fitness. Sylwester is best known for his "Spider Dog" prank that has got almost 170 million views on youtube.
They originally booked for Friday at 1:00pm. We met at the metro. As we took the van to the top it was obvious that the weather was not that great and within 10 minutes of getting out of the van, it started to rain. We waited about 15 minutes but things just got worse, so we took the van back down the hill and stopped in Trapia Restaurant to talk about Plan B. They decided they would contact me about booking another day.
Last night (Saturday June 24th) Sylwester contacted me to set the time for today. The crew met me at 11:30am at the Metro Station. Because of the timing, I thought it best to set the filming to start at the bottom of Rocinha.
Every Sunday we have the open street markets on Caminho do Boiadeiro. Vendors from Outside and inside Rocinha set up booth spaces and sell their wares. You can find anything from food, clothing, tools, spices from the Northeast of Brazil and much more. Everyone goes to the street markets to either but or socialize. So, we started there first.
Here is a video of the street fair in Rocinha.
Foto: Rocinha em Foco
The first vendor the crew took interest in was a man making teas with natural plants. He was from the Northeast of Brazil (Paraiba) and has a microphone attached to his neck so his hands were free to mix his concoctions of healthy teas. I asked him about energy teas and his assistant handed me a plastic baggie with a flyer attached with the words “Sexual Energy”. This wasn’t quite what I was looking for but it was funny. We all had a good laugh.
As we moved up the hill, the crew filmed the crowds and various different stalls of meat, chicken and fish vendors. Many of the locals called out to me asking who the crew was and what kind of film they were doing. I reiterated each time that this crew from Poland wanted to show the positive things in the favela.
We met a man who lives in Lapa who sells clothing and running shoes. He is originally from Senegal and spoke decent English. He asked me about interest in buying his wares but then he took one look at what I was wearing and said, “You got the real thing”. I’m not sure what that meant but I think most of what he was selling, were knock off brands. I wished him best of luck throughout the day. We moved on to walk further up the hill. I tried to stay out of their way but be close enough if they needed a translator for their interactions with the locals.
I noticed Sylwester had a bag with footballs. He had mentioned before about wanting to film kids playing football. I suggested that its best if you contribute something so footballs are perfect. We walked back down the hill and before arriving at the Football pitch, The crew motioned to me. They saw the Famous “Chiquinho” The king of Sao Conrado Beach. His owner Alexandre Goulart, a resident of Rocinha, rides him around on his moto bike, dressed up with hat and sunglasses. He is a celebrity in Rocinha. We all know “Chiquinho”. The took some photos and asked about this 10 kilo Garfield look a like. This cat has been featured in the media many times.
Sylwester & Alexandre with "Chiquinho" Foto: SA Wardega & Crew
We arrived at the Football pitch to see there were kids already playing. Football rules in Brazil. So, the crew wanted to film but they wants to give a ball to the kids. I called out to the kids and we met in the middle of the pitch. I explained about the crew wanting to film and that they had to play really good football if they wanted to keep the ball. It was like receiving gold. Their step picked up and the kids were all smiles about getting a brand new ball to play with. After the crew filmed, I called the kids back to the center and we took a group photo. I was able to get the kids contacts so we could send them the photos we took.
Time for lunch. We were hungry so we returned to Trapia where we ate on Friday. Monica is vegetarian so this is a perfect place for everybody’s liking. Around 2:30 we decided to head to the top. One of the amazing things about living in Rocinha, is the top hill views. We took the vans to the very top to Laboriaux. I knew some great filming spots. They wanted sun set filming and photos.
We made a few stops at some openings between some of the houses where we could see the north side views of the Christ Statue, Sugar Loaf, The Lagoa, The Jockey Club and the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon. It was a clear day so they got some awesome shots. We made our first stop by Favela Verde's office where there was an area that they could set up the drone to fly.
As we made our way down Sylwester caught a few kids playing checkers on a homemade checker board. Apparently the board was made by the environmental project called Favela Verde, which operates in Laboriaux.
As the sun was starting to set, I advised them that the best view of the favela was to come. There is a rooftop, which is used as a tourist point but it offers some of the best views in Rocinha. We arrived at the rooftop and they immediately set up a tripod with camera for time lapse filming. The camera clicks every 5 seconds. They had this camera go on its own, then, started to set up to fly a drone. This time they filmed the favela side.
I advised them where to fly and where not to fly. They had the hand held Mavic DjI. With a small remote attached with their cell phone used as a viewer, they had the drone up in the air in a matter of minutes. Its amazing how fast drone technology has advanced in the last 5 years. We caught the sun setting then decided to descend.
As we were coming down Laboraiux, I heard kids yelling. So we checked out the quadra where lots of activities go on. I saw that there were kids playing football. They wanted to film more kids playing football so we went inside. Sylwester had one more football to give away. He proposed an idea. He would play in goal and the challenge to the kids, were that they could take 5 shots. If any of the kids scored, they could keep the ball. This brought lots of excitement to the group. The ball was set.
The kids organized their group and chose 5 to take the shots.
Sylwester took his place in the goal.
Finally they took their 5 shots and one of them scored so they got to keep the ball. After the challenge the kids went back to playing with their new ball. A group photo for the memory and new friends were made.
Daniel had caught a cold a few days after taking a helicopter ride and then being exposed to the rain and wasn’t feeling very well. It was now about 5:00pm so the group wanted to return back to Copacabana. We walked down the hill. They stopped a few times to film some street scenes and by 5:30, they were back in the metro. It was a productive day for the crew and they have a lot of editing to do. I look forward to seeing their footage and complete film!
If you have interest to make a project, volunteer or want to film here in Rocinha, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org