Rio de Janeiro, a geographical marvel and the proud Brazilian tourist spot, is the most visited place in the southern hemisphere. For decades, Rio de Janeiro city is stamped as the most violent and dangerous tourist spot in Latin America. Rio city has more than 600 slums (Favela or comunidade), and has the biggest slum (favela) in the world. Favelas are the burning pots of Rio's drug related activities and other organized crimes. This documentary is based on a nonviolent cultural reform through music. The group, Afro-reggae formed in 1993, emerges from the shanty towns and their effort to nail down drug related incidents, emphasis on education, pulling out the youths out of the drug world. An ex drug lord Anderson Sá is the mastermind of this ever expanding project.
Favela Rising is a 2005 documentary film directed by duo Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary. It was featured in across the globe and received over 36 international festival awards. Including Best Documentary Film from the New York Latino Film Festival and Best Feature documentary from Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and shortlisted for Oscar
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The project focuses on education which includes workshops on dance, recycling, soccer, percussion, self-awareness and more. The group aims at using music and education to carve the lives of youth and prevent further expansion of gang involvements. Grupo Cultural AfroReggae believes that through education, there is a greater likelihood that adolescents will not get caught up in drugs and gang violence. The band emphasize that the majority of the people in the favela are honest, hardworking and innocent workers. The documentary takes through series of events that encountered with Anderson including death threats, mob attacks, surfing accidents and stage performances.