About The Film



Gringo Favelado takes you deep into the heart of Rio’s often-misunderstood favela communities through the lives of three British expats who’ve decided to call the favelas home. Rio is one of the most beautiful, dynamic cities on earth and the stunning cinematography and music in Gringo Favelado highlights the epic nature of Rio in all her glory. Through multiple layers of darkness -addressing the ever-present threat of violence in Rio- through to inspirational stories of triumph over stigma, Gringo Favelado takes you on a ride you will not soon forget.


Rio de Janeiro is known as The Marvellous City, but beyond the white sand beaches, sexy bodies and samba music Rio is on the brink of disaster. As the Olympics loom on the horizon, Rio has been trying to tackle its chronic problems with violence by installing Pacifying Police Units inside the lawless favelas (slums), but the program produces controversial results. Gringo Favelado takes a look under the skin of this stunning and enigmatic metropolis by following three British expats (locally called gringos) who are inspired by different favela communities where they now live. Each favela has a unique character and during this documentary we’ll find out why, despite a sometimes alarming level of poverty and danger, the gringos are there to stay.

Jody, from Cornwall leads groups of tourists around Rocinha, South America’s biggest favela, where he lives and works as a tour guide. As we listen to Jody’s lighthearted guidance the local gang send up smoke signals and the police begin to take position.

Bob, a Londoner, built a home in Tavares Bastos favela over 30 years ago and has developed it into one of Rio’s trendiest jazz venues. But as the phenomenon of favela-chic spreads, it points to gentrification as the new threat to favela survival.

Tom, from Doncaster, came to Rio for his love of samba music and has made a home in Pereira da Silva favela where he’s dedicated his life to teaching music to local children. Neighbourhood wars often keep the kids stuck at home, but if they practice enough they may have a chance at performing for the world during the 2016 Olympics, which is a dream they push for each day with Tom behind them.

As we navigate the labyrinthine favelas we meet a young and determined police commander and several embattled favela residents who share pride and commitment to their communities in the complex and divided Marvellous City.