Drawn to movies since childhood it seemed inevitable
that Mineiro Elton Eloin would end up in Hollywood doing what he
always loved most: videos and movies. When the opportunity came to leave
Brazil not even the offer of a profitable three-year contract on an ad
campaign in São Paulo could change his mind.
By Nália Vilage
For some people, leaving their native land in search of new horizons
could be traumatic and, afterwards, there are moments of intense introspection
about their journey and accomplishments. Reminiscences and regret. But
some people are travelers and quiet observers; they take their inner mystery
with them: "There were very few people where I lived," remembers
Minas Gerais native, director Elton Eloin, "so I learned to observe
everything, especially nature."
As characteristic of those born in this region, Eloin has that essential
quality of being alone, watching everything that goes on around him. This
sustains him; he is always quietly thinking and visualizing his next project
as he, the youngest of three brothers, did during a boyhood full of dreams
populated by Disney characters, American movies, theater and television.
Now, not having a lot of friends in his transplanted surroundings is not
a thing of concern to him. He is who he was, and he is still dreaming.
Before trading the laid-back atmosphere of Belo Horizonte for the frenetic
pace of Rio de Janeiro (when Elton was eight years old), the family had
at first decided to establish roots in a small ranch near Sepetiba, state
of Rio de Janeiro. But they eventually moved on to legendary Rio, and life
in the Big City had a great impact on his imagination. Enthralled by childhood
memories, Elton decided to immigrate to America to fulfill his life-long
passion to work in motion pictures.
Of Steven Spielberg’s Duel, intones Elton, at the time a thirteen-year-old:
"I had finally made up my mind to make movies when I was watching
this classic on the building manager’s projector in our condominium’s ballroom.
I’ll never forget that moment."
This was the pivotal point in his life. Mesmerized by the flow of images
from the screen, he started to make his first videos. He listened to Top
40 radio and, inspired by Diana Ross’s "It’s My Turn" and encouraged
by his father to overcome his shyness, Elton decided to submit his ideas
to his brother Eid Walesko, who at the time was a director at Globo TV.
His brother liked his ideas but thought them imaginative but childish.
However, at sixteen, his brother finally relented and decided to introduce
him to influential people at Globo. Elton became the assistant to Mário
Lúcio Vaz, who at the time was the network’s Creative Director for
Soap Opera Planning, and he used to boast of having been the mentor of
the talented teenager who worked long hours to realize his ambitions and
was a fixture among the crews, trying to soak up as much technical knowledge
Eventually, it was a new opening concept that Elton developed for the
Sunday prime-time extravaganza Fantástico, conceptualized
and produced by Hans Donner, that caught the attention of the all-powerful
Boni of Globo who was impressed with Elton’s creative abilities. Word spread
and his brother Walesko, who had become one of the directors of Fantástico
at the time, decided to put sibling rivalry aside and give his younger
brother a break. This led to his first music video that combined three
tracks of different styles of a song by Lionel Ritchie that became a critical
success, influencing music videos of that period.
Under the leadership of Eid Walesko, with Lia Renha as set designer,
Edmundo Tibúrcio as the director of photography and the young Elton
Eloin as creative director, there was a new energy and vitality at Globo,
and Elton added to his résumé, doing commercials for Fiat,
Firestone and Santa Rosa Textiles and other commercial giants.
Fate smiled on Elton in an offer from CBS do videos for Julio Iglesias
that took him to Los Angeles. Iglesias and Elton became friends and they
still keep in touch. He returned to Brazil but decided to return to work
in the movies, which was a childhood dream. His brother tried to talk him
out of it. But, not even the offer of a profitable three-year contract
on an advertising campaign for the opening of the Mixson advertising agency
in São Paulo and other inducements, such as being called the new
Washington Olivetto who is president and creative director of W/Brasil,
the country’s third largest ad agency, could dissuade the determined Elton.
He immigrated to New York, where he lived for a while with composer
Sérgio Sá, who also became a good friend. Then he moved to
The Promised Land, Hollywood. One day, on seeing his boyhood idol Steven
Spielberg in the middle of Beverly Center he approached him, asking him
for advice about local film schools. Excited by his meeting of Spielberg
and being referred to his assistant to follow up on suggestions about schools,
Elton continued to work as a music video director, doing videos for luminaries
such as Vicki Carr. He met Dee Dee Jackson, the sister-in-law of Michael
Jackson who drowned in 1994 in a swimming pool. He had showed Dee Dee a
short treatment of a script that he had developed for Michael’s Heal the
World Foundation; but the unfortunate turn of events precluded his meeting
the world’s most famous Jackson.
At this time, Elton decided to revisit his Brazilian roots, go to college
and dedicate his spare time to metaphysical studies. He met the internationally
famous Brazilian medium Fátima Castro and had a reunion with Ricardo
Movits, his longtime associate and friend with whom he works on film projects.
This partnership propelled him in a new direction and work on a film where
fantasy and reality merge, in which the issues of ecological protection,
violence in the media and lack of love for children are treated—the motivation
of the film being to raise spiritual awareness of all peoples using Brazilian,
American, European and other kinds of folklore. This film project has taken
them to the Amazon Rain Forest, Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, Egypt and
Spain. And Elton is also involved in an experiment using interactive technology
to cure chronic diseases, especially in children.
Elton Eloin is a healer using the medium of sight and sound. This writer
can still hear the soundtrack of his new film and, whenever I am in need
of inspiration, I find myself humming it. I hope Hollywood is also listening.
Edited by Dawn Tyler