In the Shadow of the Hill
World Premiere at Hot DocsMarch 29 2016
Toronto, March 29, 2016 - IN THE SHADOW OF THE HILL is a timely and relevant feature length documentary that serves compelling evidence as to the extent of crime and corruption in modern day Brazil. Helmed by first-time director Daniel Jackson, the film puts the spotlight on the spirit of solidarity and resilience of the residents of Rocinha, Brazil's largest favela - where one man's disappearance galvanizes an inspiring movement to rally against the ruthless state oppression.
Between 2007 and 2013, ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, 38,000 people mysteriously disappeared from Rio de Janeiro, the vast majority being black males from the city's densely populated slums or 'favelas'. When Brazil was awarded the FIFA World Cup in 2007, the government introduced a program to 'pacify' favelas, aimed at retaking territories previously controlled by heavily armed drug trafficking armies. Using an elite military police squad called BOPE for the clean-up, in November 2011 Rocinha was seized without a single shot fired.
The dramatic story of a local man believed to have been tortured and murdered by authorities is at the centre of this film. Shortly after the 'pacification' - reports began to emerge of rampant police abuse, which culminated in the disappearance of a local bricklayer, Amarildo de Souza. Mistaken for a drug dealer, Amarildo was last seen being taken by the police for questioning. In the face of pervasive, and state-sanctioned brutal oppression, indicative of a larger conspiracy at play, the community mounted a large-scale protest movement, bringing together rich and poor while pushing Brazil's epidemic of missing persons to the centre of international attention.