“We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. We don’t know what to do with other worlds.” – Stanisław Lem, Solaris

"A Machine To Live In" is a new body of work by a stalwart collaborative of international artists, filmmakers, and researchers producing media in the heart of Brazil. The first manifestation is an experimental sci-fi documentary about the imaginative and material processes of building transcendent utopian cities. This will be followed by a feature film presenting an immersive, visual portrait of the space age city of Brasília and its dream of social control through urban architecture. Additional projects in the works include ceramic installation, exhibition, photography, text, and audio projects.

A Machine to Live In – Exclusive Teaser

Above is exclusive footage from A Machine to Live In, a transmedia project about the history of highly controlled modernist planning in Brazil and radical projects in cult and mystical architecture that emerged in the hinterlands. The project’s attention radiates outward from Niemeyer and Costa’s capital, Brasília, to the flourishing landscape of UFO cults, pyramids, monuments, and futurist projects. A Machine to Live In attempts to locate where the desires for myth and reason sublimates in the building of utopian spaces. It collects vignettes and stories from architects and builders as they describe their ideal cities, both real and transcendent.

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dok.incubator 2017: 1st Workshop Session in Třešť /CZ/ – ROUGH CUT

Our week at the incubator was packed with transformative meetings, generous resources, and critical discussion with other filmmakers and widely experienced tutors. We are looking forward to our next workshop in Mojmírovce, Slovakia where we will continue to expand our knowledge and grow our network. In all, we are very thankful to the kind and amazingly hard-working dok.incubator team that hosted us and guided us throughout the whole experience. Photos courtesy of dok.incubator and Andrew Benz.

We have been selected to DOK.inkubator 2017!

We have been selected to the prestigious dok.incubator program this year. The workshop consists of three residential sessions in three different cities, all a week long and roughly two months apart. The first looks at the rough cut, the second assembles a fine cut and the third works towards locking, with an emphasis on marketing.

The unique Dok Incubator is an organization specializing in supporting documentary projects in the rough-cut stage. The focus of our participation will be working hard in the editing room, building a clever and tailor-made distribution plan and marketing strategy as well as meeting up with important international distributors.

Our timeline is:

1st – 6th May – Třešť, Czech Republic // ROUGH-CUT
26th June – 1st July – Mojmírovce, Slovakia // FINE CUT
18th – 25th of September – Malmö, Sweden // NEAR PICTURE LOCK

At this stage, we are actively fundraising to support our participation and cover expenses like flights accommodations and other associated fees. If you are interested in supporting our cause, please email us at fiscalsponsorship@ifpchicago.org, or donate directly to the project through PayPal by clicking the link below. All donations are tax deductible.

Do you have extra frequent flyer miles? We are accepting donations of frequent flyer miles on any airline that flies to Brazil (Mileage Plus, AAdvantage, SkyMiles, etc.) If you would like to donate miles, please contact us directly at team@ultrabrasilia.com.

All donors will receive a special THANK YOU in the film credits, as well as an advance copy of the film.

A Machine to Feed In

The End of Utopia

“We should dare to enact the impossible. We should rediscover how to not imagine but enact, utopia. The point is not about planning utopias, the point is about practicing them. And I think this is not a question of ‘should we do it, or should we simply persist with the existing order?’ It’s much more radical. It’s a matter for survival. The future will be utopian or there will be none.”


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Why Make This Film Now?

As Brazil struggles to fortify its fragile democracy amid turbulent times, the global audience is watching closely. Brasilia, the capital of Latin America’s largest nation, stands as a microcosm or the issues being brought to bear nationally. Built from scratch 600 miles inland, Brasilia was envisioned as a dream city, meant to thrust the nation ahead with a modern capital.

Though it has delivered much of that promise, in other ways Brasilia is just like the rest of urban Brazil: surrounded by enormous slums, supported by dispossessed migrant workers, and plagued by long-standing corruption. The lessons inherent in the story of Brasilia, historically defined by its incipient democratic movement, have implications worldwide as nations reconcile with globalization and their own economic insecurity. Structures that once represented progress, order, justice, equality and freedom, are once again being considered sanctuaries for demagogues aiming to preserve their dubious positions, and implementing policy in the name of progress and development for the benefit of only the elite.

All over the world, monuments are falling and power structures are being challenged. We now understand how modern cities bring to the fore the deep-seated problems of Western civilization in imagining spaces for the human body and mind. For the most part, these spaces have been created by erasing nature to replace it with a composite that hardens over time, concrete.

Recent urban dramas tell us that the ruins of urbanism in which we live can not be simply converted into futuristic monuments through a large-scale technology injection that will automatically produce harmonious urban spaces from scratch. As we continue to hear the distorted echo of failed utopias, the déjà vu promises of “smart cities” attract thousands of migrant workers, often badly treated and manipulated with false promises, to build mega-cities in places like Saudi Arabia, China, and many other cities planned from the point of view of the administrators.  

Sebastian Alvarez

Award Winning Editor, Iva Radivojevic joins the team!

IVA RADIVOJEVIC is an award winning filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She spent her early years in Yugoslavia and Cyprus before settling in NYC. Her films explore the theme of identity, migration and belonging. Iva’s films have screened at numerous film festivals including SXSW, Rotterdam IFF, Human Rights Watch, HotDocs, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), and were broadcast PBS, Documentary Channel as well as the New York Times Op-Docs. Her collaborative film Matthew 24:14 won the 2011 International Documentary Challenge competition for Best Director, Best Film and Best Use of Genre. She is the recipient of the 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2012 Princess Grace Special Project Award, 2011 Princess Grace Film Fellowship and a participating talent at the 2012 Berlinale Talent Campus. Iva was named one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film of 2013 by Filmmaker Magazine. Her debut feature length documentary “Evaporating Borders,” has won numerous awards worldwide, was recently nominated for an International Documentary Association (IDA) Award, a Cinema Eye Honors Spotlight Award and received One World Media Award for Refugee Reporting.

Her film, “Evaporating Borders” develops a sweeping visual essay on global restrictive attitudes toward migrating populations. Guided by the filmmaker’s curious eye and personal reflections, the film dissects the experience of asylum seekers in Cyprus. Through a series of vignettes, it poetically weaves themes of migration, tolerance, identity, and belonging.

“A Machine to Live In” pitched at IFP’s Spotlight on Documentaries


Spotlight on Documentaries is an extremely successful and viable forum for U.S. and International buyers, sales agents, and financiers to meet with filmmakers with new documentary feature and serialized projects. Presenting 60+ documentary projects ranging from those at an early financing stage (i.e. early development or in production) to those nearing completion (i.e. in post-production or at a rough cut stage), this section includes emerging and established filmmakers working in non-fiction.

The filmmaking team took part in pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with potential financing and distribution partners, speed dating meetings with festival programmers, attended private documentary events, and enjoyed exclusive access to the Filmmaker Conference.