'The Edge of Democracy,' by Moara Passoni, Nominated for Critics' Choice Awards

Gina Hackett
November 05, 2019

The Edge of Democracyco-written & associate produced by current student Moara Passoni, was nominated for two Critics' Choice Documentary Awards for Best Political Documentary and Best Narration.

The documentary, written & directed by Petra Costa, tracks the arrest of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, and the growing unrest between the Brazil’s far right and left.

“We are talking about a process that happened in Brazil but is happening to several democracies around the world,” Passoni said. “So it’s a film about Brazil, but it’s also about democracy around the world.”

The film is also nominated for a Gotham Award and an IDA Documentary Award, and will screen as part of MoMA’s 2019 screening series “The Contenders,” which runs from November through January.

The Edge of Democracy was also recently named on DOC NYC’s influential 15-film Short List, which is often an early indicator of Academy Award successes in the documentary field.

“We’ve been working on the film for three years, ever since the impeachment started...which was the same time that I arrived at Columbia,” Passoni said. “But what is fascinating is that the storytelling I’ve been learning at Columbia has helped a lot and was a great contribution to the building of the storytelling in the film.”

The Edge of Democracy premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition and was distributed to Netflix, where it can now be streamed. 

The film has been praised as “Shakespearean” by The New York Times and as “mesmerizing” by Variety, amongst other laudatory reviews.

This year marks the fourth annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards. The winners will be announced Sunday, November 10 at BRIC in Brooklyn.

Originally from São Paulo, Moara Passoni is a fourth-year MFA candidate in the Screenwriting & Directing program at Columbia. She is a longtime collaborator of Petra Costa’s and has associate produced two of her previous films, Elena and Olmo and the Seagull.

Passoni is currently developing her first feature film, Geometry of Hunger, a hybrid between documentary and installation set to be produced by Petra Costa.