As a journalist, how has your background and experiences shaped the stories you choose to cover? Are there particular topics that resonate with you on a personal level?
I chose to live this way: nothing that I do is “just because”. I want to make a difference in this world. I want to make it a better place for myself, for other people and for the ones that are not even here yet. I think as a journalist, filmmaker and actress, I have the same approach when I choose to tell a story. I want to talk about deep stories, the ones that can be life changing and heal people and society.
As a journalist I always choose to talk about politics and social security. Those themes are not very appealing for everybody, but I always thought that, as a journalist, I should show what is wrong to be able to have an impact in society and be part of the change for the better.
As a filmmaker the story is not different at all, I think it is just another way of telling stories, but, in that case, I don’t need to be that accurate about facts and reality. I can give myself some freedom, I can be creative and show things based on real episodes that happened in my life.
What drew you to the world of short filmmaking? How do you approach the challenge of telling a compelling story within the constraints of a shorter format?
After doing some self-analysis, I realized I was born an artist. I love to tell stories, I love to feel different emotions, to be the center of attention and to put myself in other people’s shoes. I think life is too short to live only our own reality. I love to be myself in different circumstances. This is how I love to tell stories, to be a filmmaker, to write, to produce, and, especially, to act.
Since a very young age I knew I needed to show emotions, to be able to entertain, but also to be able to talk about difficult topics in an artistic way. I’m also fascinated by comedy. I think we are able to touch deep topics and help people with a positive approach. We can laugh about something and at the same time make some important changes in our lives and society in general.
Working on my movie I realized that storytelling in a short format is really powerful. Even more than I could even think of myself. It is the type of format that is challenging as a writer, because you need to be able to condense your story in a few pages, dialogues and descriptions. And you need to be able to make sure you send the message to the audience. I loved this experience and I can’t wait to keep on working in other short films.
Can you share a bit about the collaborative process in the preproduction of “Serial Dater”? How do you work with your team to bring your creative vision to life?
I don’t know what I would do without the great director of the movie, Priscilla Runion. She has been helping me a lot with the production since day one in the project. She is also a passionate filmmaker and loves to tell stories. I am sure this project wouldn’t be possible without her help and hard work. I am super grateful to have her on board and I am sure the sky’s the limit to our partnership.
In your role as a producer, what aspects of filmmaking do you find most rewarding? Are there specific challenges that come with producing your own projects?
The most rewarding thing is, for sure, seeing “your baby” take form. This project is very close to my heart and I really needed to have my hands on every single little aspect of it. Of course I hear my team and I am always open to a collaborative environment. But, at the same time, it is beautiful to see the project taking form, meaning a lot to the team and already being part of the change of the better in this industry.
The biggest challenge for me is to be able to tell the story that I wanna tell with a small budget. I really believe in this story and I see this movie as one of my missions in life, so it is really important for me to make it either way, with or without a big budget. I am putting my own money into this project, but I don’t see it as an expense, I see it as an investment in myself, my career and in the conversations that I want to bring to society.
I hope this movie caught the attention I want it to get. When it happens, I am sure people will trust their money on my projects and I will be able to keep telling more and more important stories.
How do you see the intersection between your work as a writer and an actress? Do you find that your writing influences your performances or vice versa?
100%! I’ve always been a writer since a very young age. I started writing my first books when I was only 10, I wrote plays as a teenager and I worked as a journalist for more than 10 years. So, I know the process of writing and I love it. But it is super different to be able to write a short film.
I decided to start writing my own scripts when one of my teachers at NYFA (New York Film Academy) said that it would be hard for a new face to be casted for a big part, especially not having English as my first language. When he said that, I realized that I needed to start “casting myself” as the main character in the stories I wanted to tell.
Are there any specific cultural elements from Brazil that you incorporate into your creative work? How does your cultural background enrich your storytelling?
Brazil is in my soul. I am Brazil. And I don’t say that in a pretentious way, I say that, because, wherever I am I bring a little bit of my culture with me. I think I incorporate it into my work when I am the “Brazilian mom” of the team, trying to give my best version to everybody and trying to make all the members of this project feel special, because they are.
Also, I am super passionate about everything I do. This is a very Brazilian mindset. We are always passionate about the things that are important to us. If the Brazilians “adopt” you, you will never be lonely. I love this project and I will do everything that is in my power to make this short a huge success.
I am super proud of my country and how it is full of culture and beautiful hearts. And I want to be able to show a little bit of these wonderful people to the rest of the world. I want people to meet the real Brazil, not only the stereotypical version of Brazil. I want the rest of the world to see Brasil, with a “s”.
In this movie, for example, my character is Brazilian. I am not trying to hide who I am, my origins. I am super proud of it. So, I don’t try to hide my accent, lots of scenes are in Portuguese, and I cast other Brazilian talents to be in front and behind the cameras, for example.
I don’t want to be a success just for myself, I want to be a success so Brazil is a success, so my people are a success. I will climb the tower and bring every talented person I can bring with me.
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers, especially those who are interested in wearing multiple hats like you do – acting, writing, producing, and journalism?
The first thing is: love what you do. It is impossible to do the amount of stuff I do every single day if you don’t love what you do. Be crazy about it. The second thing would be: understand that you need other people to make it happen. Long story short: don’t be a diva. Talk to people, listen to their ideas, be ok with criticism.
Can you share a memorable or funny moment from your experiences in the entertainment industry? Something that stands out as a unique or unexpected twist in your journey.
One of the funniest moments for me was when I needed to pitch my idea to some executives in my screenwriting class at UCLA. I was super nervous about the moment I would need to stand up there, in front of these important people to talk about my movie.
But, when I was there, in front of everybody, the “show off” in me, the artist, the actress, the comedian came out. And, when I realized everybody was laughing at my jokes, loving the concept of the story and giving me great advice about the movie. I think that the lesson I learned with that was that people want to hear about your story, just don’t bother them to death.
As a storyteller, how do you navigate the balance between entertainment and delivering a message? Do you believe that media has a responsibility to address social or cultural issues?
Yes. I think we should be aware of our responsibility as filmmakers and should always bring important subjects to the table. And it doesn’t mean that it needs to be annoying, sad or patronizing. We can invite people to have deep talks in a fun, funny and relatable way.
In this movie, for example, I talk a lot about mental health issues (a subject that has been following me my whole life). But it is not triggering at all. It touches on the subject, but it is not going to make you feel bad and it is not going to make the audience think bad things about the ones who suffer with mental health issues.
Serial Dater is a comedy and yet can talk about really important things about our society. I have always used humor as a way of defending myself, but now I am trying to use it as a way of telling stories and helping other people.
Looking back at your career so far, is there a project or moment that you consider a turning point in your artistic development? How did it impact your approach to your craft?
I am aware that this is the moment you are talking about. Serial Dater is the movie I am going to watch in a few years and be grateful for making it. I know that. I know this movie will help a lot of people, and it will help me to get where I wanna be. This is just the beginning. It took me a long time to be able to take this leap of faith and, now that I am doing it, I am unstoppable now.