FILMMAKER - MUSICIAN
The formative years: "A young pianist turns conductor"
French-brazilian Director, writer and composer Maximianno Cobra was born in Rio de
Janeiro,Brazil. From a very early age he discovered his
film seeing Fritz Lang's silent masterpiece "Metropolis" (1927);
initializing a lifelong fascination with German
expressionism. Spending much of his formative years absorbing
the great works of cinema, his understanding of storytelling was
enriched after watching Fellini's "Amarcord" (1973),
Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) and Orson Welles' "Citizen
Kane" (1941); but it was a love of Olivier's "Hamlet" (1950) that first
ventured him into the magnificent world of Shakespeare. “Discovering Shakespeare was"
- in his own words was - “an
existential upheaval. He impacted me the same way Bach's music had."
Beginning his career as an orchestra conductor, it is here Maximianno
learnt the “essential value of the text as the epicentre that leads a
performing artist to build the spiritual and physical life of either a
music score or a character”. During his early professional
years, in synergy with his experiences in the field, Maximianno
attended acting workshops and conferences on Stanislavsky’s method
(notably with director Sergio Brito and theatre practitioner Augusto
Boal, founder of the theatrical concept of 'Theatre of the
Oppressed'). From them he learnt the need to reach and
dark and unknown regions; to let all subliminal moment happen from
within the process of storytelling and narrative."
This experience constituted, for him, how a director views presenting a
At seventeen Maximianno earned a grant to study conducting and
composition in Europe, at Vienna's Music and Performing Arts
University. In parallel with his education, he also began
exploring his passion with directing, awakened during his
adolescence by Sergio Brito’s theatrical production of "King
Lear". True to kismet, his first production was also
Shakespeare's "King Lear", performed in both English and French, for a
Parisian theatre company. “Directing Shakespeare or
conducting Bach is, each and every time, a symbolic rebirth. As long as
we accept to open our mind and heart, they have the ability to
transform both performing artists and audience into
phoenixes.” Upon graduation he toured France
Hungarian State Opera and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra; later
joining the Europa Philharmonia, a newly-founded ensemble bringing
together Europe's elite orchestra musicians for studio recording
projects using the latest media technology.
In 1993 Maximianno was hired as producer and audiovisual director of a
concert series for the Ministry of Culture's public television channel;
featuring the Brazilian Philharmonic and the Brazilian Symphony
Orchestra, under his direction. This led to a follow up on
European TV and cable network of a new piece "Ode to Joy: Beethoven -
Symphony No. 9 Op. 125" which quickly became a best seller.
The experience of directing for camera, as opposed to stage and
concert, began to gestate in his mind; leading to his first initial
draft adapting Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" for film. "I had an intrinsically long
relationship with the play and, above all, with its timeless themes:
the challenge of social hypocrisy, disillusion and annihilation against
the poetics of friendship, love, and beauty. Not to mention an early
fascination, since I was a teenager, about Ancient Greece and classical
While he continued to tour Europe conducting the Budapest Philharmonic
Orchestra, Maximianno further developed his directing on stage,
especially his passion for Shakespeare, bringing to life productions of
"Richard III", "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "Macbeth".
During this time Maximianno also earned his Ph.D in Musicology and
Music History from Paris IV University; culminating in being appointed
Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Network Audiovisual
Project. Under his leadership they focused on stage
performances, audiobooks, documentaries and films; and for his
achievements with the company Maximianno was awarded seven ICA awards
and five IAG Recording Award.
In 2011 he directed the TV series "The Mahler - Klimt Project, A Gustav
Mahler Centennial Celebration", followed in 2012 with directing the
short film "Sense: A Small Tribute to Federico Fellini". At long last
Maximianno was able to honour not just one of cinema's greatest
directors, but someone who had influenced his own passion in
film-making from such an early age. "Maestro Fellini, like any other
master, understood 'a little more' about the meaning of life than
anyone of us."
In 2017 Maximianno entered pre-production for "Misanthropos", bringing to fruition over a decade worth of dedication to adapting Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens". After more than a year of auditions (personally casting each actor), gathering crew, being heavily involved in stage design and the music score, as well as two years of rehearsals.
He has been appointed Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Network Audiovisual Project (AudioBooks, VideoBooks, Stage Performances, Documentaries, Films) and has been nominated and awarded for his phonographic and audiovisual achievements. ICA - "Anthological" - "Creator" Recording Award - IAG - "Must" Hi-Fi Recording Award