Davi Pretto (Brazil) was a fellow of the DAAD's Berlin Artists-in-Residence Programme in 2018, and his debut film "Castanha" was screened at more than 40 international festivals.
Castanha focuses on the life and work of João Carlos Castanha. The 52-year-old actor and performance artist performs at night in small theatres and gay bars. During the day, he shares a petty bourgeois flat with his mother Celina. João is sick, tired, aged, and yet he celebrates life. The love of his life died of AIDS, but João has not lost his sense of humour, even though he is increasingly haunted by the ghosts of his past. The many facets of the man are revealed in the art of the transvestite, his reality of life in the exploration of the multi-layered milieu.
"'Castanha' is a fictional film about a real character: the actor and travesty artist João Carlos Castanha (52). Davi Pretto met him during his first student short film and was fascinated by his face and physical charisma. Similar to John Cassavetes, he relies entirely on this actor and the rest of the cast. At the same time, however, there are fantastic elements - reality and horror intermingle. As with Roman Polanski or John Carpenter, however, this horror is fed by the everyday life of the characters. In addition, 'Castanha' is an intimate, observational, almost documentary film that is guided by coincidences, silence and the details of everyday life. João, like all of us, lives in a confused fictionalised reality where the real is absurd and the everyday is abstract." (Davi Pretto)
"While João already imagines himself with one foot in the grave and haunted by the ghosts of the past, he stubbornly celebrates life." (Maike Wetzel, source: Berliner Künstlerprogramm)