Neon Bull

A film by Gabriel Mascaro

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Wild, sensual and utterly transporting, Brazilian writer-director Gabriel Mascaro's second fiction feature unfolds within the world of the vaquejada, a traditional exhibition sport in which cowboys try to pull bulls to the ground by their tails.

Neon Bull explores the vaquejada through the eyes of Iremar (Juliano Cazarre), a handsome cowboy who works the events. While he's not afraid to get his hands dirty, Iremar's real dream is to design exotic outfits for dancers. (Synopsis courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival.)

About Gabriel Mascaro

Gabriel Mascaro (born 1983) is a filmmaker and visual artist from Recife, Brazil. His first feature film, VENTOS DE AGOSTO (AUGUST WINDS), premiered in competition at Locarno in 2014 and was awarded with a special mention. The film has won numerous other awards and received much critical acclaim.

His previous documentaries and video installations have been screened at important film festivals and artistic events including Rotterdam (IFFR), Amsterdam (IDFA), Oberhausen, Clermont Ferrand, Leipzig, BFI London, the Guggenheim, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, MoMA Documentary Fortnight, and the São Paulo Biennale.

BOI NEON (NEON BULL) is Gabriel’s second fiction feature film.

  • Boi Neon (Neon Bull) 2015, Brazil / Uruguay / Netherlands, 101’, Fiction, HD, 71st Venice Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival.
  • Ventos de Agosto (August Winds) 2014, Brazil, 85’, fiction, HD, 67th Festival del Filme Locarno, Special Mention
  • Doméstica (Housemaids) 2012, Brazil, 75’ documentary, HD, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, 2012
  • A Onda Traz o Vento Leva (Ebb & Flow) 2012, Brazil/Spain, 25’, documentary, HD, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, 2012, Oberhausen, Jury Prize
  • Avenida Brasília Teimosa (Defiant Brasilia) 2010, Brazil, 85’, documentary, HD, 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam
  • As Aventuras de Paulo Bruscky (The Adventures of Paulo Bruscky) 2010, Brazil, 20’, machinima documentary, HD, É Tudo Verdade
  • Um Lugar ao Sol (High-Rise) 2009, Brazil, 70’, documentary, HDBAFICI – Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente, Special Mention KFZ-1348 2008, Brazil, 85’, documentary, 35mm, São Paulo International Film Festival, Special Jury Prize

Director’s Statement

Amidst a recent wave of rapid economic growth, the film is an attempt to renovate the political and symbolic understanding of contemporary human relations in the Northeast of Brazil, where I grew up and have always lived. The Vaquejada rodeo – one of the largest agro-business events in Brazil - seems to provide a fitting allegory of the recent transformations affecting the region. Through the lives of characters trying to keep pace with a new scale of desires and aspirations, I want to explore colors and textures that demonstrate the contradictions of consumption and expanding notions of identity and gender.

I hope that by embracing the lives of this group of Vaqueiros, the cowhands who live on the road transporting bulls between Vaquejadas and working backstage at the event, NEON BULL throws new light on recent socio-economic and cultural changes. The film is a study of the body, light and the transformation of the human landscape.


Juliano Cazarré

Carlos Pessoa

Vinicius de Oliveira

Samya de Lavor

Alyne Santana

Maeve Jinkings

Josinaldo Alves

Abigail Pereira

Cast key bio


Director Gabriel Mascaro
Producer Rachel Ellis
Co-Producers Sandino Saravia & Marleen Slot
Executive producers Rachel Ellis, Sandino Saravia & Marleen Slot
Acting Coach Fatima Toledo
Associate Producer Tiago Melo
Script Gabriel Mascaro
Script Collaborators Marcelo Gomes, Cesar Turim & Daniel Bandeira
Director of Photography Diego Garcia

First Assistant Director Marcelo Caetano
Editing Fernando Epstein & Eduardo Serrano
Production Manager Livia de Melo
Art Director Maíra Mesquita
Costume Flora Rabello
Direct Sound Fabian Oliver
Original Soundtrack Otávio Santos, Cláudio N & Carlos Montenegro
Sound Design & Edit Mauricio d'Orey
Sound Mix Vincent Sinceretti

Crew key bio Full credits

Main Cast - Biographies


Alyne Santana is a twelve years old girl who lives in Bezerros, a small city in the contryside of Pernambuco, Brazil. She participated in the cast audition to be part of the film Neon Bull, by Gabriel Mascaro. Alyne got the role of Cacá and was coached by Fátima Toledo, one of the greatest acting coach of Brazil. The film has won many prizes around the world, starting by its world premiere at 72nd Venice Film Festival, when Neon Bull got the Special Jury Prize from Orizzonti Competition. At its national premiere, the film was the great winner of 17 th Festival do Rio: Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Photography and Best Supporting Actress, for Alyne Santana.


Maeve Jinkings was born in Brazil. In 2000, she received her BA in Social Communication from the Universidade da Amazônia. Maeve made her debut as supporting actress in cinema, appearing in Carlos Reichembach's Fake Blonde (2008). Filmed in Recife, in 2010, Maeve took a lead role in Kleber Mendonça Filho's Neighbouring Sounds (O Som ao Redor). The film premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2012), and played in over 90 festivals worldwide. In 2015, Maeve starred as Galega, a truck driver for rodeos in Gabriel Mascaro's Neon Bull - also director of August Winds (Ventos de Agosto, 2014). In the same year, Maeve would return to collaborate with director Renata Pinheiro, this time with the lead role in the feature film Sugar (Açucar; slated for release in 2016). Also in 2015, Maeve plays the supporting role to Sonia Braga in Kleber Mendonça Filho's second feature-length film Aquarius. The film was chosen to make its world premier and compete in the Official Selection at the 69th Cannes Film Festival.


Juliano Cazarré started his career at the theatre, acting in important plays directed by Hugo Rodas. He's graduated in Theatre Arts at University of Brasília (UnB) and has his debut on TV in São Paulo, acting in the TV serie Alice, by HBO Brasil. In 2011, he acted in the soup opera Insensato Coração, by Rede Globo. He got more important roles since 2012, when he played the comic character Adauto, at the soup Avenida Brasil, huge success of Rede Globo. In the next soup, Amor à Vida, he played one of the main roles. At movies, his highlight is Neon Bull, by Gabriel Mascaro. The film was the great winner of 17th Festival do Rio, and also won the Special Jury Prize oh the Orizzonti Jury at 72nd Venice Film Festival. Juliano is also in the cast of many films like Grande Circo Místico, by Cacá Diegues, Obra Prima, by Daniel Filho, O Lobo Atrás da Porta, by Fernando Coimbra, Serra Pelada, by Heitor Dhalia, 360, by Fernando Meirelles, and A Febre do Rato, by Cláudio Assis.


He was born in Rio de Janeiro. His life radically changed when he was discovered by director Walter Salles and cast to play the role of Josué in the acclaimed film Central Station (Central do Brasil, 1998). He has also participated in two other projects of Walter Salles: Abril Despedaçado (2001) and Linha de Passe (co-directed by Daniela thomas, 2008). Vinicius worked in the TV series O Rebu (Rede Globo, 2014), Unidade Básica (Universal, 2016).

Main Crew - Biographies

GABRIEL MASCARO // director and writer

Gabriel Mascaro (1983) is a filmmaker and visual artist from Recife, Brazil. His first feature film, VENTOS DE AGOSTO (AUGUST WINDS), premiered in competition at Locarno in 2014 and was awarded with a special mention. BOI NEON (NEON BULL) is Gabriel's second feature film, premiered in Venice Film Festival (Orizontti) followed by Toronto International Film Festival (Platform Competition) in 2015. His films and video installations have been screened at festivals and artistic events/exhibitions including the Guggenheim, MACBA- Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, MoMA - Documentary Fortnight, Panorama da Arte Brasileira at MAM-SP and the São Paulo Art Biennale. Mascaro participated in the Videobrasil Artistic Residency programme at the Videoformes Arts Organization in France and the Wexner Center for Arts in the USA. His films have won over 50 awards. In April 2016 he had a retrospective of his work at the Lincoln Film Center in New York.

RACHEL ELLIS // producer

Rachel Ellis is a film producer who was born & raised in the UK and has lived in Recife, Brazil since 2004. In 2010 she founded with director Gabriel Mascaro the film production company DESVIA, where she works to date as producer, executive produce and writer. Much of her work is focused on project development & exploring partnerships and co-productions. Her last film BOI NEON won the jury prize at the Venice Film Festival (Orrizonti) and has been screened in 75 festivals and distributed to 20 territories. The other films she has produced have all been screened in competition at important festivals including IDFA, Locarno and Toronto. Rachel has participated in international meetings including Cinemart (2011) and Locarno Open Doors (2014) and has accessed important national and international funds including BO/Minc, Ibermedia, Hubert Bals Fund, Cinereach, Funcultura-PE, co-production funds Brazil/Uruguay and Brazil/Portugal. Rachel is currently producing two new projects by Gabriel Mascaro as well as four coproductions, three in development and one in post-produciton.


Fernando Epstein was born and lives in Montevideo, Uruguay. Since 1997 he's been working as editor in commercials, documentaries, video clips and fiction films. His first experience with feature films was with the film 25 Watts (2001) by Juan Pablo Rebella, in which he was also the executive producer. As an editor, he has worked at the films: Boi Neon (2015) by Gabriel Mascaro, El Silencio del Rio (2015) by Carlos Tribiño Mamby, El Cinco (2014) by Adrián Biniez, History of Fear (2014) by Benjamin Naishtat, among others.


Eduardo is a Brazilian editor. He has a master in Editing from the National Film School (NFTS)/Royal College of Art in England. His first feature film, Eles Voltam (2012) by Marcelo Lordello premiered at the Tigers Competition at Rotterdam Film Festival. To Gabriel Mascaro, he edited Housemaids (2012) and August Winds (2014). He also worked at the documentary Elephant's Dream (BE/UK/CONGO) by Kristof Bilsen, which premiered at IDFA and DOCLeipzig in competition. He edited Gabriel Mascaro's new film, Neon Bull (2015), which had a great and wide international and international career. Eduardo's last film was Aquarius, by Kleber Mendonça Filho, that premiered in Cannes, at the official competition. Nowadays, he's editing the feature Djon Africa (BR/PT/CABO VERDE) by Filipa Reis and João Miller, a coproduction between TerraTreme and Desvia.

DIEGO GARCIA // cinematographer

Diego is a Mexican cinematographer, graduated from Mexican Film School. He has been working as a cinematographer since 2003 with short films. His first work in a feature film was the indie Without (2011) by Mark Jackson, which won many prizes in international festivals. Diego also worked in documentaries like Ser Isla (2007) by Eun Hee Ihm and Chuy, El hombre lobo (2014) by Eva Aridjis. He has also worked at the films Tiempos Felices (2014) by Luis Javier M. Halaine, Bestia de Cardo (2015) by Virginia Sánchez, Boi Neon (2015) by Gabriel Mascaro, Cemetery of Splendor (2015) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and The Darkness (2016) by Daniel Castro Zimbrón.


11th Zurich Film Festival - International Feature Film Competition
BFI London Film Festival - Dare
44th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma - Panorama
31st Warsaw Film Festival - International Competition
7th Adelaide Film Festival - International Feature Film Competition
51st Chicago Film Festival - Main Competition
AFI Fest - Official Selection
Braunschweig Film Festival - Official Selection
Thessaloniki Film Festival - Open Horizons
Vienalle - Viena International Film Festival - Official Selection
X Panorama Internacional Coisa de Cinema – Competição Nacional 
8th Janela Internacional de Cinema – Official Competition
26th Stockholm Film Festival - Official Competition
23rd Camerimage - 1st - 2nd Feature Competition
19th Tallinn Black Nights - Official Selection
5th Cuenca La Orquidea Festival - Official Selection
Zagreb Film Festival – Official Competition
53rd Festival Internacional de Cine de Gijon - Official Competition 37th Festival des Trois Continents - Official Competition
Singapore Film Festival - Official Competition
37th Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano - Official Competition
20th Kerala International Film Festival - Official Selection
15th Festival Internacional du Film de Marrakech - Official Competition
27th Tromsø Film Festival – Official Competition
Geneve Independent Film Festival - Black Movie – Official Selection
8th Moscow 2Morrow Film Festival – Official Competition
International Film Festival Rotterdam – Official Selection
8th Bengaluru International Film Festival – Official Selection
Abaporu Brazilian Film Festival – Official Selection
Dublin International Film Festival – Official Selection
6th Luxembourg City International Film Festival - Official Competition
Khanty Mansiysk - Spirit of Fire International Film Festival - Official Competition
31st Guadalajara Film Festival – International & Maguey Competitions
32nd Festival du Cinéma Ibérique et Latino Américain de Villeurbanne – Official Selection
Wales One World Film Festival - Official Selection
28th CineLatino Toulouse – Panorama
4th Festival Ojoloco du Cinéma Espagnol et Latino-Américain de Grenoble – Official Selection
New Directors New Films – Official Selection
40th Hong Kong International Film Festival – Official Selection
21st Vilnius Film Festival - Official Selection
Istanbul International Film Festival – Official Selection
18th Festival du Cinéma Brésilien à Paris – Official Selection
South Social Film Festival - Vanguardia y Género Competition