Winner 2019

The Edge of Democracy

A Busca Vida Filmes Production in association with Violet Films for Netflix

In The Edge of Democracy, director Petra Costa takes viewers through a first-person narration of Brazil’s tumultuous political history over the last several decades. Seen through the prism of her own family history of identification with both right-wing dictatorship (1964-85) and more contemporary leftist revolutionary movements, Costa’s documentary focuses on the rise and fall of former left-wing coalition presidents Luna da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. We witness their eventual downfalls (imprisonment and impeachment, respectively) due to corruption scandals and an intense judicial and legislative coup d’etat in 2014 focused on their removal from political life. The rise of the authoritarian populist regime of Jair Bolsonaro stands as an eerie warning to democracies worldwide, especially the U.S., where popular anger from the right is stoked by intense political and ideological polarization, and endured by a political left that is seemingly oblivious to the elite machinations that would strive to eliminate them from power entirely. For a fascinating examination of contemporary Brazilian politics with warnings of the fragile nature of democracy worldwide, The Edge of Democracy receives a Peabody.


Executive Producers: Maxyne Franklin, Josh Braun. Associate Producers/Producers: Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris, Tiago Pavan. Director: Petra Costa. Writers: Petra Costa, Carol Pires, David Barker, Moara Passoni. Editors: David Barker, Tina Baz, Jordana Berg, Joaquim Castro, Karen Harley, Felipe Lacerda. Cinematography: João Atala, Ricardo Stuckert. Sound Design & Mix: Leslie Shatz.