ForeverMissed
In memory of our beloved Flavinha
Posted by Jane Wagner on May 27, 2021
Hello.

I was so devastated to read of Falvia's death. I wish I had known, I wish I had seen her, I wish it didn't happen, I wish so much. Flavia, you are a joy, a love, a delight. So warm and loving, and I hope you know how much you were loved. Flavia worked with us on two projects, both very challenging. And to both she brought her huge love of life, learning and her deep humanity. She charmed my inlaws, who were staying in our live work space, and she connected with our then 6 year old son. This was back in 2009/10. And while I often saw her at events, and corresponded, we somehow didn't manage to spend much time together. But reading these messages, I know she was surrounded by so much love. I send my deepest condolences to all. And I am so honored to have had her in our lives. xox Jane
Posted by Anja Baron on May 21, 2021
I just wanted to share the below with you which was passed on to me by our dear friend Lisa Gossels (who some of you may know):

NY Women in Film & Television just honored our Flavinha:
https://www.nywift.org/letter-from-the-executive-director-may-19-2021/

Love to all
Anja
Posted by Ana McGinnis on May 18, 2021

Today is one month since our friend Flavia left. She also left an empty
place among the many people who loved her.
I wish so much I could have had one more talk with her, one more laugh together. Que pena! What a shame! Too soon…
Flavia was truly kind, fun and a very brave person. I am comforted by those memories and the belief that she is in a better place.
We arrive in New York in the 80’s, Monica, Flavia, Troya and I. We met each other through Stela Brandao and became close friends. We had very different lives and different professions, but we always stayed together through the years! We spent so many Christmas, New Years, and Easters in my old apartment on East 73rd St. The memories are infinite!
Que saudades Flavinha! Rest in peace and until we met again!
In the picture, clockwise from the left; Monica Reis, Ana Rosa McGinnis, Stella Brandao, Arnaldo Baptista, Jim McGinnis, Jose Ilion Troya, Flavia Fontes.
Posted by Monica Reis on May 18, 2021
I met Flavia in the early spring of 1982 in a coffee shop on the corner of Lexington and 77th Street - close to the subway station. Joao, my ex-husband and I used to go there for pastramis, on our way to work and English course, respectively. There, Flavia, the hostess, spotted us: Brazilians? she asked in her mineiro accent… two or three of these meals were enough to engage us in nice chats and to invite her over to our place for a dinner packed with all our Brazilian friends. It was instant connection - loved Flavi and she became a regular in our late night dinners. I was so impressed with her beautiful honest open heart, especially when one night she came over to correct her misrepresentation of a story that was soon to be forgotten because wasn’t important for us. That “correction” touched me deeply, it revealed who Flavia was, how big and honest and courageous she was. I trusted her and wanted her close. We became very very close and were always having meaningful conversations and lots of laughter. About three years after we first met, Flavia landed a big job and went to Belo Horizonte to get her new visa. Off course I went to her newly rented apt at 209 east 81st Street, on the second floor, to wish her a safe and fun trip. There were open suitcases as she was still packing, and I spotted a large one full of tiny tennis shoes - what is this Flavi, I asked, and she replied: for the poor kids in BH. Again, my heart melted and could never forget such beauty, pure gesture! A few years later, meeting her family here in New York, I understood where it all came from. Flavi, as she quickly became, introduced me to astrology, and after studying for a few months, our conversations started to be weaved and heavily punctuated by pluto, uranus, saturn… trines and squares. we spoke everyday and off course fought and argued too. So Flavi, after many of these arguments often would call me and say: I am calling because Oce (mineiro short for voce, or You) are a scorpio and won’t call. Right there my guard would immediately go down - did not want to fight either, let’s continue our conversations and laugh and have fun.
-Moneeca, let’s go to the Village with Gisa (Gisela) and meet Michelle.
-Let’s go to the beach tomorrow?
Later she left the big pay job to pursue a career in film, and did it so well!!!
-Moneeca, I met a very interesting man, about whom I want to make a documentary. I want you to meet him, he is 101 years old, an Austrian musician.
-Have you seen the last cut of Forbidden Wedding?
She would not allow fear, if any appeared, to control her - she was confident and fearless!
Her career grew and she worked, as we know, with so many interesting directors, producers and writers. Harry Brown was one of them, who she often would refer to either HarriKrishna or HarriCane - according to his mood. How much I love these nicknames and late night jokes over the phone!!!
In the middle of life challenges and difficulties and many complaints, she would drag me into the stories of the characters she would create on the spot and we would laugh to no end. Flavi loved to laugh and that is one especial way, among so many, she bonded with us. The many times we laughed of nothing, just looking at each other and laugh and our love would pop loud.
Our miseries, and hard moments were impersonated by all these characters, that would always show up to bring light, lightness and laughter to difficult situations - no one escaped them, and even her boyfriends started to participate on these jokes and add to the life of the characters: “don’t stRRetch the matirial”, “super agora” - so wonderful!!!
So many stories Flavitin, as I started calling you as you grew bigger for me. Intuitively I knew so many of them, and what happened and what was going on, even before you could tell me!
so so much, so many stories and memories…
Favitin, i have to go…- Moneeca, Pluto and Saturn conjunct… -I really have to go…
I would not attempt to tell all here - the endless conversations continue in and with each one of us, and we still miss you.
Love you big minha Flavitin ♥️♥️♥️
Posted by Michèle Pereira Fleury on May 9, 2021
Sorry for my poor english. It’s not good at all and I’ll probably make mistakes but I wish to share with you all, including her family in Minas, my love for Flavia and a few memories.

I’ve known Flavia for over 40 years. We met by chance at the subway in NYC. Both of us were 20. Both of us had arrived from Brazil one week before. It was the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship. We were just like sisters for more than 4 years, the length of time I stayed in NY. Later on even with an ocean between us we never lost contact neither this natural and easy way of being with each other. Always curious about things and people, she used to find the funny side of situations and we laughed a whole lot together. She really knew how to look towards the sunny side of life. Certainly because herself was also bright, warm and radiant.
Here is a couple of stories we shared around snow: once we went to a new year’s party and they proposed some very good brownies, « special » ones! As we were very gourmandes we ate one piece each and waited. Nothing happened. So why not take another one? Which we did, waited and yet nothing happened. Well, why not a third one then, as it was so delicious. After a while we couldn’t move anymore and stayed stuck on our sits for a longtime laughing to tears. Even when we were finally able to stand up and walk to leave the place, as there was a lot of snow on the streets, we fell down several times over the snow accumulated by the side walks, rolling and laughing on and on just like kids. That was a great moment of pure youth and joy with my wonderful friend Flavia.
Another time we had been to the movies and coming out of the cinema, there was again lots of snow and it was very windy. And we stayed at the door just watching people slide and fall on the street. There were many people falling on their bottoms. Just incredible, as in a bourlesque film! And we laughed non stop for quite a moment. It was just like a shower of happiness and lightness shared with her.
The last time we saw each other was when she came to Paris in September 2019. What a joy to have her in my home with my family! It was short but what a gift! Then since last autumn I didn’t hear much from her anymore. I finally had her on the phone the last February 28th. She told me only at that moment about her cancer, making me promise her that I wouldn’t cry or be sad. She was optimist for the operation and told me with great humor many of her stories and adventures in the hospitals. We talked for almost 2 hours. At the same time that my tears rolled down in silence she still made me laugh. And we laughed together for the last time. When I think of her now I always see her with an adorable smile shining on her face. She taught me so much about life that day, about what it is to face it with strength and in a positive way. She also told me she had accepted a new work and I told her that maybe it wouldn’t be the best thing to do for the moment. She answered me clearly that she hadn’t worked for the last 11months. I realized then that working was really vital for her, it was her choice, her life. And she lived her life this way, making as much as possible free choices that she would assume with incredible dedication and enthusiasm. All I feel is gratitude for having been her friend.
Oh Flavinha, I love you so much! I know you know it. I always thought that I loved NY. In fact I loved NY with you in it. It will never be the same again. But you will always be my dear friend all the way to the bottom of my heart. And I’m sure from where you are now your light will keep shining as a huge sunny smile full of love that you will pour over us. Com amor infinito, a tua amiga de sempre e para sempre, Michèle
Posted by m h on May 7, 2021
I met Flavia in Minsk in 1997 (? or some year nearby), though we both lived in NYC. The Minsk International Women's Film Festival was chaos, featuring geiger counters checking our food for radiation, organizers passing a hat to pay for the Chernoble irradiated food, as the sponsor of the festival had just been thrown out of the country, and lots of vodka (Flavia took s8mm footage of all this). Flavia was an an amazing spirit and presence, and I was impressed that she stayed on after the festival, having adventures traveling across Russia. We stayed friends in NY, worked together, and advised each other over the years. Flavia had a special way of bringing people together, and keeping long friendships. I miss her greatly.
Posted by Nelson Farber on May 6, 2021
Denial, grief, celebration of a life - sentiments which neither follow sequentially nor coexist peacefully - rather, they collide and ricochet through my head. 

It is late fall/ early winter - right before the pandemic - my wife Christine and I are coming out of the subway, somewhere downtown. At that very moment, lo and behold, Flavia is entering, right in front of us. What are the odds? To those of us who have an appetite for the notion that there is some sort of order to the universe, such a little synchronicity is much more than the mathematical law of averages; it is a sign of connection between people, a soul grouping of sorts. 

Several days later the three of us meet up at John's of 12th Street. We arrive at around 7:00 - the wait-staff ever-so-politely cajoles us out after midnight. We are the last ones in the house. Over pasta and wine and more wine we had become lost in conversation, and in time, on matters that Flavia was passionate about, such as Correa and Evo Morales, and also about life, mutual friends, etc.

It was a great night, and also the last time I would see Flavia. Christine and I returned to Berlin where we principally reside, and have been-holed up since the pandemic, without returning to New York. Flavias' passing comes as a complete surprise.

Flavia was a wonderful friend of about 13 years. Countless times hanging out - often meeting at Beyoglu - the Turkish restaurant around the corner from her, watching footage (Lynne, Correa, her narrative short 'Anna. . .'). Also sharing with her footage and insights from projects Christine and I were working on. Getting together with Flavia and other friends - precious memories. Milestones - Flavia with a camera in hand filming when Christine and I were married; Flavia - one of two friends who came over the night before I closed down the apartment on the UES to consolidate in Berlin.    

I think of Flavia's presence, her smile - in a way both down to earth and other-worldly all-at-once. One of a kind, she survives within all of us whom she deeply touched and inspired. 
Posted by CAMILLE SIEGEL on May 6, 2021
I was broken-hearted to hear that Flavia had passed away. She was an amazing lady who achieved so much in her life. I met her through two friends of mine and we all had so many fun times having drinks and dinner in NYC. When I moved to Paris, she wrote me and was so happy I had found happiness with my husband. I will never forget you, Flavia, she was a unique and such a positive person. RIP, Flavia. You will be missed by so many.
Posted by Jezabel Montero on May 5, 2021
I'll never forget when my partner (Margo Singaliese) came home from a party one night, that I couldn't attend, and all she talked about was Flavia. "Oh my god, there's this filmmaker/editor that is so fascinating and has the best stories, I talked to her all night!" I couldn't wait to meet her. I knew I would because that party was one of Monica Steuer's. From the moment I met Flavia I knew we would be friends forever. I am a filmmaker and writer as well and Flavia and I would talk endlessly about our projects. She was loving, funny, exciting, positive and just an all around free-spirited breath of fresh air. Unconventional and open to all and everyone. She was kind and thoughtful.
We would see each other at our mutual friend's parties, but then we became separate friends and my partner and I started inviting her to OUR parties. She was part of our 'crew'. She was our framily. I am devastated and broken hearted. I dream about her often and think of her almost every day. She touched so many lives in such a deep way. Her spirit lives on, as do her wonderful films. Her legacy is her love and kindness. She spread so much of it to everyone around her. I will NEVER forget her and her memory will live on forever. I loved you so much, Flavia! I hope you knew that. You were loved.  
Posted by Whit Johnston on May 3, 2021
I first met Flavia at an Oscar party, the yr Letterman hosted (1995?). We were having so much fun talking back to the screen that our host hit the mute, stood in front of the TV and announced to the packed room that the two of us were on final warning; one more peep out of either one and we would be ejected. Like the naughty school children we were, it was all we could do to keep from bursting out in laughter. The betting pool that night was to be split b/t the one who guessed the most Oscar winners and the one who guessed the fewest. As fate would have it, we were both winners! Rather than divvy up the pile of one dollar bills, we decided to go out and blow it; it was, after all, only 1AM. What I will miss most about our dear departed one is her playfulness, her neologisms and her just plain good-heartedness....thankfully, she freely shared her ever-expanding circle of friends and now that she is gone, I look forward to keeping her memory alive through those I am still in touch with.....Fleedom for Fleshwater, Flavenia! xoxo, Cachohino
Posted by Margo Singaliese on May 3, 2021
I vividly remember first meeting the high-spirited, massively intelligent, talented, fun-loving Flavia at our mutual friend’s, Monica Steuer’s party. We drifted over to each other and started a fascinating and hilarious conversation that lasted a few hours leading to future guaranteed invitations and attendance by Flavia to any event, be it professional or personal, such as holiday dinners and birthdays that my partner and I sponsored. Flavia always provided such levity and love to any occasion. One seemed to walk just a little bit taller after speaking with her because she so loved people and found something good in everyone. It is hard to believe we will no longer see those dimples or hear of her next adventure, but we still are better for having known her. We will carry the memory of her with love, sharing stories of her, and hope she floats into our dreams. The memory of her will be like her, always a welcome part of our framily, friends who are more like family.
Posted by Cynthia Kane on April 28, 2021
I had the honor of knowing Flavia close to 20 years... and can't imagine the world without her. 
We acquired her film, Forbidden Wedding as a DocDay premiere when I was at Sundance Channel and that's when I started helping write proposals for the Lynne Stewart doc.... I always agreed with her politically but she was a much better lefty than me...
I would run into Flavia in so many places! All over the planet!
In France - in Paris and at Sunnyside of the Doc in New Rochelle, maybe also in Marseille? - in New York, of course. One time I ran into her by chance in San Francisco at a screening - ! I was like, "Flavia, what are you doing here?!"
She always came to the parties at the loft since I moved back to NYC in late 2016... She was working on the Rafael Correa doc... and we'd talk about it on the phone for hours... independent filmmaking is not for the timid and she was fearless in her need to tell these difficult stories.
No one could make me laugh like Flavia... my sisters both met her and loved her as much as I did...
I had texted her on Sunday morning, the day she left us. I hadn't seen or talked to her in a long time, and I hadn't known she was sick... Some mutual friends called me to tell me. But she was in my dream that night, laughing, having a huge party, being at the center of it all.
That was Flavia... bigger than life... vibrant... impossible not to love....
Posted by Maryann DeLeo on April 28, 2021
I met Flavia while we were Emmy judges a long time ago when people still sat in conference rooms with stacks of large videotapes, watching each entry together and discussing its merit. Flavia found it funny that I was so candid about each one. I remember her laughing, she laughed often, one of the best qualities someone can have, and it was a wonderful quality of hers that she found life often funny. Sometime after our meeting I hired Flavia to edit a film I was making about domestic violence.
In every other film I had edited the rough cut and then hired an editor to make sense of my mess. This film was different, there was a serious deadline. I had to finish fast. I gave Flavia my film to edit in my East Village apartment while I was in Texas shooting. I entrusted her and she delivered, she edited the film with artistry and hard work.
Flavia would call me with updates, I remember once when she called to tell me about a scene in a beauty parlor. "That scene with all the women who have been abused ,getting glammed up and telling your their life stories, it's so powerful, you've got to include it, or make it a film on its own." She was passionate about it, like she was about everything, especially filmmaking. 
   When I returned to New York she made me watch the scene again, imploring me, intention and charm in her eyes, "don't you think this is great, you have to use it."  It might be good but it couldn't stay. She looked so disappointed.
   She soldiered on though, and we finished the film. She was a great partner. She became as devoted and passionate about the film as though it were her own. I appreciated that commitment and dedication.
    It wasn't accepted into Sundance, but the broadcaster decided to have an off festival screening. I invited Flavia to come as part of the team. Flavia was my valued partner in the film, I wanted her to be there.
    We had the screening, we partied, and one day Flavia and I sat in one of the Sundance exclusive cafes with famous and not so famous attendees. We must have sat there for 5 hours, watching people, commenting, laughing, mostly laughing. Sometimes someone came and talked to us for a few minutes about their film, giving us their business card or inviting us to their screening. Mostly though we sat together, I remember us saying, this is Sundance? what's so great about this? It was probably me saying it, Flavia was just always glad to be included in any kind of party, gathering or experience. She loved meeting new people, having new experiences.
    We went on to work together on other films, and we would get together sometimes over lattes or a glass of red wine and always, at Flavia's suggestion having a photo taken of us together, a photo that had to pass Flavia's approval. After a waiter or random stranger took the photo, Flavia would say in her lovely voice, can I see it, and usually she would reject the first photo, and the second and maybe the third. She would charm the person into taking as many photos as needed to be taken until the perfect one was achieved. She always got a good photo, she would look carefully, taking her time to make sure everyone in the photo looked their best.
   One of my favorite photos of Flavia was taken when we went to the boathouse at Central Park together. We were taking Christophe, he was visiting from Caen, France and we wanted to show him Central Park.
    We rented a boat and Flavia and I started rowing. We were terrible rowers. We couldn't coordinate our oars, and we went around and around in a circle. We got nowhere, laughing all the time at ourselves.
        Christophe, after having enough of spinning in circles, said he would take over. Flavia and I gladly turned the oars over to him and we happily floated along, sitting back while Christophe did all the hard work.
        In the photo, Flavia is in a bright orange top, her face lit by the sun., big sunglasses on, ( she always wore sunglasses) and a full of life and beauty Flavia smile.. I will always remember her this way, happy, smiling, beautiful and full of light.
Posted by Anja Baron on April 27, 2021
To me Flavia was “Flinka”, a name we had given to each other some 25 years ago and had been using ever since-sometimes we even went for the diminutive "Flinkininha” for good measure. It was a kind of secret code, a reference to all the great times we had together and that funny little name somehow came to symbolize those times.

For a while we were quasi inseparable (especially before my kids and then moving to Europe), roaming the NY documentary scene together —and hardly ever missing a party, where Flavia would -more often than not- quickly become the center of the action. She knew everyone it seemed and fluttered from person to person like a colorful butterfly.

To those who knew her, she was one of the most life-embracing, passionate, vivacious, keenly intelligent, talented and sophisticated, beautiful humans. And she was funny, very funny-often at her own expense. Her laugh was infectious, her smile radiant-and those dimples! Often we burst into laughter at things at the exact same time, many times when nobody else thought it was remotely funny. Which to us just proved again: in many ways we were soul sisters. My memories are vast and range from the time we almost burnt down her apartment after setting up a romantic candle light dinner to enjoy Chinese take out—saving the situation at the last minute & then laughing about it — to once talking so late into a summer night on the porch of my CT house that we downed every last drop of wine we could find & finally fell blissfully asleep at 4 a.m.

I hear her laugh now, I hear her beautiful Brazilian inflection, I see her standing in front of me, hands on her hips, speaking passionately about any matter near & dear to her. She was a quintessential bohemienne, a free indomitable spirit who lived by her own rules, a flaneuse who travelled the world many times over -camera in hand -coming back with fascinating stories to share.Often I had no idea where she had taken off to, or where she was headed next. 

Flavia very often spoke of her family, of her parents, her brother, her sister, her nieces and the family dog Jolie-it seemed clear to me: they remained the center of her universe no matter how long she had lived away from Brazil—so, in many ways, this tribute is for them. We share their immeasurable pain across the continents and oceans. Please know how much Flavia was loved and adored-and by so very many.

Some people live long lives but experience little. Flavia packed several lives into a tragically abbreviated one. She lived with a capital ”L.

The last time we spoke, we laughed together despite the awful circumstances—she cracked jokes and made me laugh. I tried to return the favor. Her last email to me said
“I love you and will keep you posted”. You owe me a follow-up email, my sister! Believing in reincarnation, I know you will send me word whenever you have settled into wherever you are: the other day, sitting in the little garden of our apartment in Berlin, birds were chirping loudly and happily—the sun had finally come out. One of the birds seemed to be particularly chirpy—passionately proclaiming some message to its peers. For a moment I thought “There you are” and, after days of crying, it made me smile.

I miss you Flinka and carry you with me wherever I go. And I know that, wherever you are, you already set up shop and are beguiling your new community with your inimitable charm and beauty.

Love always,
your
Flinka

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Jane Wagner on May 27, 2021
Hello.

I was so devastated to read of Falvia's death. I wish I had known, I wish I had seen her, I wish it didn't happen, I wish so much. Flavia, you are a joy, a love, a delight. So warm and loving, and I hope you know how much you were loved. Flavia worked with us on two projects, both very challenging. And to both she brought her huge love of life, learning and her deep humanity. She charmed my inlaws, who were staying in our live work space, and she connected with our then 6 year old son. This was back in 2009/10. And while I often saw her at events, and corresponded, we somehow didn't manage to spend much time together. But reading these messages, I know she was surrounded by so much love. I send my deepest condolences to all. And I am so honored to have had her in our lives. xox Jane
Posted by Anja Baron on May 21, 2021
I just wanted to share the below with you which was passed on to me by our dear friend Lisa Gossels (who some of you may know):

NY Women in Film & Television just honored our Flavinha:
https://www.nywift.org/letter-from-the-executive-director-may-19-2021/

Love to all
Anja
Posted by Ana McGinnis on May 18, 2021

Today is one month since our friend Flavia left. She also left an empty
place among the many people who loved her.
I wish so much I could have had one more talk with her, one more laugh together. Que pena! What a shame! Too soon…
Flavia was truly kind, fun and a very brave person. I am comforted by those memories and the belief that she is in a better place.
We arrive in New York in the 80’s, Monica, Flavia, Troya and I. We met each other through Stela Brandao and became close friends. We had very different lives and different professions, but we always stayed together through the years! We spent so many Christmas, New Years, and Easters in my old apartment on East 73rd St. The memories are infinite!
Que saudades Flavinha! Rest in peace and until we met again!
In the picture, clockwise from the left; Monica Reis, Ana Rosa McGinnis, Stella Brandao, Arnaldo Baptista, Jim McGinnis, Jose Ilion Troya, Flavia Fontes.
Recent stories

Flavinha

Shared by Marcelo Zarvos on May 3, 2021
I met Flavia such a long time ago in the 90s in NYC that I can't even remember the exact circumstances. Flavia always felt like a person who was in my life forever. Very early on in my career as a film composer she was so enthusiastic, supportive and helpful as she was with most people that knew her. Not that she was a pushover or didn't have a very strong critical voice, but I always felt her thoughts and sage advice were coming out of a place of deep humanity and care for others. She brought so many people together and introduced me to many friends from all over the world who are to this day very dear to me. It's hard to imagine not being able to see her and talk about our favorite films of the year and our beloved Brazil.  Flavia, you will be deeply missed but always cherished for everything you did on this earth. And if there is a cutting room in heaven I know who will be running it. Much love and saudades Flavinha.