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Friday, July 19, 2019
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Two VMA students film documentary in Brazil

Gabriel Volcovich and Tony Simonetti

Tony Simonetti '16 (left) and Gabriel Volcovich '16 spent two weeks in August in Brazil filming a documentary about a native son who immigrated to the United States to become a marathon runner. (Courtesy Photo by Moy Volcovich)

Two Visual and Media Arts students traveled to Brazil in August to film a documentary about Jose Moreira, a Boston man who left his native rural Brazilian village two decades ago to become a marathon runner.

Gabriel Volcovich ’16, the director and cinematographer of The Running Phantoms, and Tony Simonetti ’16, who did post-production and other work on the film, spent two weeks in Rio de Contas, in the province of Bahia, filming Moreira and his family.

Jose Moreira

Jose Moreira, the Boston athlete and native Brazilian who is the subject of the students' film. (Courtesy Photo by Moy Volcovich)

The Running Phantoms, which has not yet been completed, is an independent project.

Volcovich, who lives with his family in Toronto but is originally from Mexico City, also took his mother, father, and sister with him on the trip.

The students interviewed residents of the small village—nearly all of whom know Moreira—about his early life. Moreira established the Discover America and Brazil Foundation, which brings American athletes into the village to work with children. 

Volcovich film

Tony Simonetti '16 and Gabriel Volcovich '16 work on a scene with American-Brazilian child actor Ronald Batista. (Courtesy Photo by Moy Volcovich)

Moreira has run in 20 marathons, including five in Boston. His best time is 2 hours and 17 minutes. He is currently training for the 2016 Boston Marathon.

Volcovich said that production designers and actors from Southwest Bahia State University helped with the film. The actors were used to recreate scenes of true events in Moreira’s life.

“I am very grateful to have collaborated with students from another university who come from a different culture and background,” Volcovich said. “I could not have made this project without their superb talent and support.”

Volcovich is a member of Emerson College Hillel and Amigos.

The Running Phantoms cast and crew

The cast and crew of The Running Phantoms. (Courtesy Photo by Moy Volcovich)