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directed by Justin Mitchell
USA 2009


Neither a traditional sports documentary, nor a surfing travelogue like the goofy, bubbly FOLLOW ME (1969), RIO BREAKS follows Fabio and Naama, two boys living in a Rio de Janeiro slum who have a love of surfing. At home, they have to withstand the pressures to join the drug-trafficking trade(with few other options). On the beach, they mix in with the tourists and the more affluent and get to show off their surfing chops. The goals of these and many other boys (and some girls, we find out) from similar backgrounds is to compete in surfing competitions and secure sponsorship as a way out of the slums. Besides their celebrity role models (one boy mentions that his favorite surfer is Kelly Slater), they also have some role models closer to home like Maya Gabera and Simao Romano, who is interviewed here and claims that surfing did indeed save him from a life of crime (although another interviewee Fia mentions that her son was a surfer before he got into trafficking and was murdered). In fact, according to the film, there is an ongoing effort to get youth in the favelas involved in surfing and competing. The Favela Surf Club buses the kids around to competitions, helps them maintain their boards, some leaders like Rogerio provide emotional support and, sometimes, shelter while others like Jean also endeavor to provide spiritual support. Director Mitchell is judicious in his narrative interjections and is able to move most of the narrative forward with the subtitled interview excerpts. As a result, we better engage with emotionally with the interviewees (particularly when they tell us about those they have lost to crime and some of their own bad decisions as well as the everyday threats and evidence of violence, but we also delight in the would-be pro-surfers' stories of their first experiences surfing and their future hopes). Mitchell gets so close to his subjects that you not only fear for his safety but theirs (there is many a fogged background face and some passing glares at the camera, especially in the largely unused LIVING CANTAGALO footage). Although Fabio and Naama are the main subjects, we also get sympathetic and dimensional portraits of some of the other interview subjects. While profit is a big motivator in their surfing dreams, we believe their craving for a better, safer life.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 21 September 2009

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DVD Review: Factory 25 - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Factory 25

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:24:42

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.45 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English/Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Factory 25

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• 8 Bonus Scenes (16:9; 15:48)
• Original Fundraising Trailer (4:3; 6:56)
• Final Trailer (16:9; 1:48)
• LIVING CANTAGALO documentary (4:3; 7:02)

DVD Release Date: 31 August 2010
Digipack in Slipcase

Chapters 24



Factory 25's DVD probably looks as good as the original photography allows. The bright whites of the waves are occasionally clipped but it was more important to capture the action and some bits seem to have come from lower quality video with heavy stair-stepping on vertical lines. Narration and music are clear. Some of the interview footage audio suffers from the location noise but English subtitles have been provided anyway (for the Portuguese dialogue only and not the narration). There are eight short deleted scenes and all feature burnt-in subtitles. The fund-raising trailer is actually a near 7 minute promo. The final trailer is also included. LIVING CANTAGALO is some early footage that Mitchell shot, intending to use it for the opening of the film (only a few bits were used).

  - Eric Cotenas


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Factory 25

Region 0 - NTSC


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