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Senna premiere a hit in Sao Paulo
Senna premiere a hit in Sao Paulo
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Nov 2010   |  4:28 am GMT  |  77 comments

I’ve just come back from the premiere of the new Senna movie which took place in a very smart cinema complex in the Jardim area of Sao Paulo.

There is a real buzz about the film as you might expect, here in Brazil. It is scheduled to open next week here at over 130 cinemas and is likely to expand from there.

The premiere was attended by many Brazilian stars, models, even the coach of the national football team! From the racing world there were Felipe Massa and Emerson Fittipaldi.

The event was hosted by Viviane Senna, Ayrton’s sister, who runs the Senna Foundation and it was attended by her two children, Bruno and Bianca. All of them have been heavily involved in the making of the film.

Viviane Senna with the film makers

Viviane paid tribute to the film’s writer, Manish Pandey, producer James Gay-Rees and director
Asif Kapaldi. It clearly took a lot for the family to agree for a documentary feature film to be made and there was a lot of trust involved.

The film uses only existing footage, much of which fans will not have seen before as it was in the FOM archives shot by many different broadcasters. There are audio extracts from many key players and the film has a very strong narrative thread. It’s written as a classic three act structure, short intro to the young Senna’s first initiation into the world of F1; main bulk of the film is his struggle to deal with the politics and his rivals to reach the top, then a short final act in which he dies very publicly.

Bruno Senna (left) with writer/producer Manish Pandey

It is a powerful film because it reminds you of the visceral nature of the sport, the brutality of the cars, the accidents, the politics at the same time as showing you the beauty of life lived on the limit. Senna is the best possible subject because not only did he push everything to the limit, but he also articulated it better than any other driver.

The film is due to open in Europe next May/June but we will have a JA on F1 screening in aid of the Senna Foundation in the new year at which there will also be a question and answer session with the team behind the film.

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It’s great to read/feel all your your respective excitement re the film, I’ll pass your feedback on to my Universal peers in distribution!

I can’t begin to explain what a powerful film this has turned out to be, the director/producers really out did themselves!!


Where will the JA on F1 screening be held? London by any chance?

I’ve been so impatient for this to come out since I heard the rumor it was being made. Senna was such prominent figure in my childhood, and he still inspires me today.


Yes London. In the New Year


How graphic is the film at the end?

If they actually show all the footage surely it will have to be an 18?


That’s a good point. I was 13 in 1994 and quite honestly I think I was too young to see something like that. I have a feeling usually documentaries in the UK are free of certificate or something of similar wording. If they show it in detail I would have said a 15 certificate would be sensible or else a 12a so at least an adult is there to explain the context (odd to think neither age group were born when it happened though). Do you know anything about this, James?


Love you James.

You made my day.

However I am sad that the Senna Foundation will lose out on substantial fees coz many fans will see SENNA online. They (we)are not too patient. Not about their god, anyways.

Cheers nonetheless.


Gaurav, i see the movie.. it’s amazing… to the F1 fans, in particular Senna fans, the movie is awesome. Very touching, emotional, but lighter and show to us the “behind the scenes” of F1 and the “problems”.. well, i cry sometimes, i can’t forget his magic…

However, if you’ll see online, ok, but when the movie was on the stores, buy! I’ll will, definitely!!!


I hope not


I had to stop halfway through reading this…too emotional…what the film will do to me is easy to guess at this stage…I will be in pieces…for a 40-yr old!

Senna…forever in our thoughts…RIP


Hi James,

Do you know when this will be released in Australia?



as we all seem agreed the summer is too long to wait, any chance of a poll that you could share with Universal on how many people would like to see it asap (i,e early in the new year)?

Or is there an email we can contact them to lobby for an earlier release?




I was fortunate enough to see this back in Tokyo last month. I felt it was very well put together and was quite surprised by the quality level of some of the older video clips. Despite the fact that we all know how the movie ends I thought all the trials and controversies that made up Senna’s life were quite interesting. My only complaint is that I was hoping for some modern day interviews with drivers etc looking back on Senna and his career. I cannot wait until this comes out on DVD


I would love to go to the screening in the New Year! I can’t wait for this movie and there is no way I can wait until June.


Viviane Senna represents Ayrton with such style and grace. Senna would be proud.



Was Milton Da Silva at the screening. I hear he still has great difficulty coping with the death of his son.


To be one for the greats you need to have a higer amount of race wins to poles. Senna didn’t have this. Can someone explain this to me? There are no points given out on a Saturday as Truily knows well.




Does that mean he was a car breaker? Or just the unluckest man in the world.


Hello James,

What do you think is the best book/biography on Ayrton Senna?

In a personal note, I’ve recently Hilton’s “Ayrton Senna : the whole story” and so far so good. There is also a brazilian one, by Ernesto Rodrigues, called “Ayrton Senna: o herói revelado”. It deals with the more personal aspects of his life, childhood, family, girlfriends, his enemies (Piquet) and that is definitely worth translating to english.


I don’t think there is a best book on Senna


hmmm, so what are you waiting for? start writing it! 😉


I can’t wait to see this film, but there is also a substaincial part of me that doesn’t want to see it because I know how it ends. Seeing my hero pass away is painful and uncomfortable, to me he still is like one of my family, I grew up watching him race whilst James Hunt & Murray commentated, and I remember 94 like it was yesterday 🙁 I can see this becoming the first film I’ll ever need tissues in.


I believe Senna and James Hunt were close friends. Senna regularly used to go to James for advice as he trusted his opinion.

I clearly remember Hungary 1992 and Hunt breaking the news during the commentary that Senna had offered to drive for Williams for nothing in 1993!! No one else was aware of it and Senna had told Hunt over breakfast that morning!


Heroes come and go, heroes rise and fall, but Senna’s legacy will live forever. In 94 i was a kid who didnt even know what a formula one car was, yet i look up to Senna today.



I don’t know what the producers were thinking releasing this film with release dates so far apart. Before years end it’ll be on all the torrents.


That is a risk. It is Universal, the distributors who are setting the schedule


does it show anything about Erik Comas’ accident and Erik Comas coming out of the pit lane after the red flag at imola?


Is that why Comas came out the pitlane to the crash scene at Imola? i.e. because of Spa 1992 and Senna stopping? I never put two and two together on that one but it is possible.

James do you know any more on this?


As far as I know it was a case of him accidently been led out by his team and as he went past the Senna’s car he was so distraght that he withdrew from the race.


I started to watch Formula 1 as a kid during the 1995 season so i missed out on the Senna era. YouTube has some great Senna footage over the years and he truly was a master behind the wheel. Really looking forward to seeing this film. Senna has had a lot of memorable interviews over the years but my favourite quote is this one..

“By being a racing driver you are under risk all the time. By being a racing driver means you are racing with other people. And if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing, competing to win. And the main motivation is to compete for victory, it’s not to come 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th. I race to win as long as I feel it’s possible. Sometimes you get it wrong? Sure, it’s impossible to get it right all the time. But I race designed to win, as long as I feel I’m doing it right”


Hi James,
Can’t you try to organise a Premiere for fans when it will be launched in Europe? With Senna family, Prost and Dennis for example?
Would love to attend it…


Bruno soon to be a Lotus driver.

And so it begins again.

Enough to send the shivers down your spine.


You’ve got to be kidding.


Hopefully there will be a lot in there about the good things he did. The world needs to know that he was more than a genuinely legendary racer, he was also a genuinely legendary human being, and I do not afford that plaudit easily to just anyone.

We need more Senna’s and less war-mongering politicians in this world.


Can’t wait. Will it be first come first served james? Sounds like a great coup!


I cannot wait to see this film can’t believe that we will have to wait till next May/June will it go on general release then cos our cinema is that slow films have been on telly before we gwt them


Contact your local Universal office and tell them what you think


when you speak to the lady at universal, could you have her elaborate on why exactly they are waiting until june 2011 to premier the movie in europe?


I image its to coincide with the British GP to build upon the free f1 hype that is sure to be around and in all papers! line brazil launch coinciding with brazillian GP


Any idea when this film will make it to the USA?


I hope JA can answer this one too.


ah i can’t wait to see this. Will your screening be on general sale?

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