Girls From Ipanema

From robbery and drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro's shantytowns to sun, surf, sex, and samba - and those risque Rio bikinis - on Brazil's most famous beach.

An unabashed celebration of Brazilian music, beach fashion and the unrelenting rhythm of life - with rich next to poor -


Directed by Wendy Dent, 2003 Worldfest Houston Gold Award winner, prepare yourself for an edgy, entertaining and spirited Australian independent documentary - dancing to a Brazilian beat!

GIRLS FROM IPANEMA profiles the highs and lows of life for;

four "tall, tanned, young and lovely" girls from Ipanema's fashion world,

and the original "Girl from Ipanema", Helo Pinheiro, the muse who inspired the world's second most played song.

The film is also adventurous in its style; juxtaposing images of the beauty of Brazil together with a frank study of its social inequality, and richly edited with some of the best new Brazilian music
and the hottest new fashions on the catwalk and the beach.

Coloured with the best new Brazilian funk, bossa nova, forro, rap and samba music, and a little hip hop too - the documentary also features 3 Fashion Rio catwalk parades (with appearances by Naomi Campbell, Giselle and Brazil's top models) and in depth interviews with Brazil's most famous model scout, Sergio Mattos, and Rio de Janeiro's top bikini designers .

A documentary truly filmed and edited with style and soul;


HELO PINHEIRO; (the original 'Girl from Ipanema')


RENATA OVALLE SABOYA (an aspiring model),

MARCELA COIMBRA (bikini designer & founder of label, "Vitess")

LISIANE DA SILVA (an artisan from COOPA ROCA, a women's fashion co-operative from Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro's biggest shantytown).


and designers / founders of the top beachwear brands of Rio de Janeiro;

RYGY (designer Regina Aragao)

LENNY (designer Lenny Niemeyer)

COMPLEX B (designer Beto Neves)

COOPA ROCA (founder Maria Teresa Leal)


Palm Beach International Film Festival, Florida USA


37th Worldfest Houston,

(Houston International Film Festival) Texas USA


Zimbabwe International Film Festival


The 1st Turks & Caicos International Film Festival


Azerbaijan International Film Festival


San Diego Film Festival

Carlsbad International Film Festival


The screenings of Girls From Ipanema were highly popular with film-makers, the jury, critics, press and the audience - with a keen Brazilian following as well! Great reviews were written by David Poland in The Hot Button, Neusa Martinez of ArcheiUSA & Brazil on TV, and Brandon Judell for Yahoo movie news and Indiewire:


Palm Beach Film Festival report by Brandon Judell (4 May 2004);

"The lovely Wendy Dent's "Girls from Ipanema" looks like a travelogue that's escaped from the E! Channel. Nonstop, gals and gents in teeny bathing suits, with just as little on their minds, kiss, walk, sing, and brown on Brazil's infamous beaches. Watch while wearing sunscreen!".



"I had been meaning to write and tell you again how much I enjoyed the film. For someone who'd never been there before, you really gave an accurate insight into the lifestyles of those Ipanema girls. You also captured the beach culture there in a serious yet humorous way, something not all film-makers and writers can do. Great music too! "


by David Poland (20 April 2004);

" Wendy Dent is a lanky young documentary filmmaker who you will probably hear from sooner than later. She is here at the Palm Beach International Film Festival premiering her second documentary in two years, Girls From Ipanema, a doc about women in Brazil and the life of the beach. She was here last year with Kissed By A Crocodile, a doc that takes a look at love and sex in Bali. Later this year, Dent will release Dear Juliet, a look at romance in Italy. In other words, she is working hard, producing a lot of interesting work, getting better each time at bat and well on her way to the intersection of her hard work and some good luck.

Girls From Ipanema, which is being promoted here in Palm Beach with a lot of shots of girls in bikinis and less, starts by focusing on the wardrobe. But it turns out to be more than that. Body parts are everywhere. But there is an interesting sense of the women not feeling objectified by their near-nudity. There is something so brazen about it all that the focus shifts to the next step in the conversation. The original "Girl From Ipanema" is now in her 50s and appearing nude in Brazilian Playboy with her daughter. Toplessness is illegal on the beaches of Rio. Men frequently leave relationships so they can engage in meaningless and apparently boundary-free sexual encounters during Carnival. The size of the bikini bottom is a constant conversation of both morality and history. The Brazilian preference for "A" over "T" is discussed. The beauty of the Brazilian figure, on the world stage, is discounted for being too fleshy, however exposed. And then there is the undercurrent of possible violence in the streets of Rio.

I can't say that I know exactly what Girls From Ipanema wants to say. The use of the plural is probably indicative of that ambiguity. But after watching it, I felt like I had been given the chance to have a nice, long conversation with some young women from a very different culture about the world in which they live. Surely, Sheila Nevins would be happier with the film if the girls all took off their bikinis from Ipanema at some point or offered lurid tales of sex on the beach. (One of the young women points out that a lot of people do have sex on the beach, but she considers it unhygienic.)

Wendy seems to be the kind of free spirit that is used to carrying the load and doing things on her own. Her energy at festival Q&As is manic, which you quickly realize is enthusiasm. She is in her 20s, and still has that really young energy. You get the feeling that she is rushing to taste every flavor in the world, anxious to find her favorites before he enthusiasm fades. Her website takes you through her personal journey, so you'll be able to keep an eye on her& as well as many of the bikinis of her film. "