DENISE ZMEKHOL is a Brazilian-American journalist, an award-winning producer and director of documentary films and media projects that span the globe. Her documentary films, commercials, and innovative transmedia projects have been recognized for their elegant visual style and deft storytelling. Her feature documentary CHILDREN OF THE AMAZON was supported by the Independent Television Service and broadcast on PBS, as well as on European and Latin American television. Denise co-produced and co-directed DIGITAL JOURNEY, an Emmy Award winning PBS series exploring emerging technologies in their social, environmental and cultural contexts. Denise co-directed BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE a short for PBS/TED Talks and was co-producer on Amir Soltani’s DOGTOWN REDEMPTION that was exhibited on the PBS series Independent Lens. Recently, Denise presented the story of her recent film SKIN OF GLASS at the Pop-Up Magazine Spring 2019 tour in seven cities and with women from around the world at the TEDWomen BOLD + BRILLIANT conference in Palm Springs.
Skin of Glass
SKIN OF GLASS is the story of São Paulo’s tallest highrise favela (slum), a 24-story glass office tower and the architectural masterpiece of Director Denise Zmekhol’s late father. The film follows Denise’s journey to reconnect with the father she lost at fourteen as she uncovers and struggles to protect his artistic legacy while confronting the rapidly growing inequality destroying the city he loved.
The film evolves as a poetic essay on displacement, a cautionary tale about the cities of our future, and a trenchant portrait of activism. Along with Denise and her father, the building, a modernist icon affectionately known as “Pele de Vidro” (Skin of Glass) is a central character. Architects, housing activists, and São Paulo’s homeless residents who know the building intimately all contribute elements of the larger story as we see their own stories intersecting with it. The film’s structure mirrors the important life phases of the building, which reveal the reality of urban life in Brazil during key eras of darkness, transformation, and rebirth.