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Balloon Wars

The family or the balloons

These were the words of Jaba’s wife after his first arrest for participating in the in-famous and illegal hot air ballon competition between gangs. Regardless of the warning Jaba persists in his passion of building balloons and becoming a key figure of the underworld ballon gang scene of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Together with other shirtless, gold chain wearing favela thugs Jaba spends months gluing small pieces of colorful paper together to create giant hot air ballons, only to release them and for a moment watch them fly above the city in an explosion of lights and fireworks.

Meanwhile, Ton, a member of a gang from a neighboring favela, is notorious for stealing balloons released by others such as Jaba. Their volatile lifestyle as balloonists drives both men to extremes with the increasing menace of being sentenced to jail or physically harmed.

The director, Sissel Morell Dargis, is unlike any other director we have had the pleasure of working with at House of Real. She has a background as a graffiti-painter and photographer in São Paulo. She recently graduated as a documentary director from Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television, Cuba, a school initiated by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


Title: Balloon Wars
Director: Sissel Morell Dargis
Producer: Jesper Jack
Duration: 75/58
Formats: Documentary
Platforms:TV, cinema, web
Partners: DFI
Delivery: 2018