Docs

PBS to premiere Bolsonaro doc ahead of Brazilian election in October

PBS has slated an August 30 premiere for Rise of the Bolsonaros, a new feature documentary from the BBC Studios Documentary Unit that profiles controversial, hard-right-wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and ...
August 16, 2022


PBS has slated an August 30 premiere for Rise of the Bolsonaros, a new feature documentary from the BBC Studios Documentary Unit that profiles controversial, hard-right-wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and his three sons, who have served as his closest advisors since he took power in 2018.

Entering politics in 1991 after spending several years in the army, Bolsonaro (pictured) staked himself out as an unabashed militarist and champion of “family values,” in contrast to the general liberalization of Brazilian society that was set in motion with the end of military rule in 1985.

Since winning the presidency in 2018 — in a campaign that mirrored Donald Trump’s in the 2016 U.S. election, in its mobilization of online trolls and alleged spread of misinformation via social media — Bolsonaro has ramped up his rhetoric against leftists, played to his base through the advancement of openly homophobic and misogynist views, and enacted a “pro-business” agenda that has seen a hard-line restriction of Indigenous rights and acceleration of the deforestation of the Amazon.

The new documentary features interviews with Bolsonaro’s son Flávio, assorted political allies and adversaries, Brazilian-based journalists, and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

The film will make its U.S. premiere on PBS in advance of the October election that will pit the incumbent Bolsonaro against former two-time president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose candidacy in the 2018 race was mooted after federal judge Sérgio Moro — who shortly thereafter became justice minister in Bolsonaro’s administration — sentenced him to 12 years in prison on corruption charges (a decision that was annulled by Brazil’s Supreme Court in April 2021).

Rise of the Bolsonaros was commissioned from the BBC Studios Documentary Unit for BBC Two by Patrick Holland and Jack Bootle. Ricardo Pollack is executive producer, while Raquel Toniolo serves as series producer. Richard Max is edit director, and the series director is Matt Hill. For PBS, Diana El-Osta is the executive in charge.

Photo courtesy of Monique Renne/PBS

About The Author
Justin Anderson joined Realscreen as senior staff writer in 2021, reporting and writing stories for the newsletter and magazine. During his 20-year career he’s filled a variety of roles as a writer and editor at a number of media organizations, covering news and current affairs as well as business, tech, the film and music industries and plenty in between. He’s also spent time behind the scenes in television production, having written everything from voiceover scripts for documentaries to marketing copy. He has a degree in Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).

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