Day-to-Day

Mentors

November 22, 2017

This year I went to film school. Again. If you know me in person or if you follow this blog for long enough (since its creation), you’ll know this is the third time I’m doing it. Each one of them was very different due to my approach and focus. The common aspect of all three is I met amazing people that taught me and inspired me to be better at my craft and a better person overall.

People that challenged the status quo and what was expected of the students. People that were open to unusual lines of thinking and an incredibly questioning student (the one writing this) with authority issues. I’m not gonna say there were lots of these people everywhere. There was one or two of them for each time.

The first time, at University of Sao Paulo, I was mentored by Fernando Scavone, who encouraged me to write a graduation paper unlike any that came before. A unique blend between theory and practice that was gonna turn into template for future classes and projects (I didn’t know that at the time). I also had Luli Radfahrer, who has a unique view on how to teach basic photography and was so open to my questioning that he let me teach one of his classes to see if I could prove a technical point we disagreed on.

The second time, at Vancouver Film School, my savior and mentor was Werner ten Hoeve. To this day, I still don’t know exactly why we bonded so well. I was going through the hardest period of my life, but I still kept my no-bullshit attitude of not taking orders without question and accepting that some things are just “meant to be”. Ultimately, I think Werner liked me because of how I took ownership of my final project and never complained about the challenges he gave me.

The third and hopefully last (at least for a while) time, at Langara College, I had Janin Palahicky, the key instructor when it came to dealing with gear and technical questions. I honestly don’t know how he put up with me since the beginning of the program while I questioned the cameras we used, the lenses we had, the software used and other basic level instructions. Nowadays we have a group chat and talk about both work and mundane things.

The other important person at Langara was Sara McIntyre. When I went into the film program, I was set on cinematography. Cinematography was a part of the directing stream which involved, among other things, directing a couple of short films. You see, I never wanted to be a director (we’ll get back to that in the future), I didn’t have the traits I believed were required to be a director. After a semester of Sara’s Advanced Directing classes my resolve in not to be a director was a little shaken – she is a director and her views on pretty much everything that a director represents went the opposite way of this director archetype I had in my mind. In multiple occasions I came to Sara with this subject and we discussed what it meant to be a director. She changed my view on the film industry, from simply accepting what’s already there, into fighting for what you think is right – and there’s plenty of things in the film industry that need to be made right.

Weaving through this process, from all the way back at University of Sao Paulo to the present days, there’s Bruno Nicko. We made a webseries together, we lived together more than once, and whenever I decide to learn something new, he’s there to support me – many times by teaching me. The same way Nicko comes aboard for my crazy ideas, I always jump in to help and encourage him on his. Among the shared qualities: my bike is the same model as his – he got it first -, we started riding fixed gear together and we don’t really like big crowds of people or social events. Sometimes we don’t see each other for quite a while but every time we chat, it inspires me to grow and see things under a different light.

After this last time in film school – and two years of weekly therapy sessions – I found some connections between all the people mentioned above. They are the ones that didn’t try to stop me from doing something that had never been done before simply because it had never been done before. They are the ones that instead of fighting back against my questions, were open to listening and talking about said questions. The point was not “who was right and who was wrong”, but the conversation itself. The outcome was not as important as the process. They were the ones that didn’t simply accept things that “are”. They saw potential for change, for doing things differently.

These folks are my compasses and I’m extremely lucky they’re just a phone call or email away.