November 23, 2018

Olga Saadi – Class of 2012

Olga Saadi, Class of 2012 at The British School, Rio de Janeiro, had the amazing initiative of founding “Projeto Mão Dada”. The project creates 3D printer prosthetics for children, making them more accessible for children in need. Gabriela de Lamare, TBSRJ Class of 2018, interviewed her for the website.

 

Olga Saad

Olga Saadi

 

1 – Where and what did you study after you left TBSRJ?

Production Engineering at PUC-Rio, Brazil.

 

2 – Introduce “Projeto Mão Dada” and explain what made you want to start a project like this.

“Projeto Mão Dada” is about bridging the gap between 3D printed prosthetics and traditional devices. On one hand, we have prosthetics that are terribly expensive and have little function and on the other, we have 3D printing enabling the production of inexpensive, functional yet fragile prosthesis. Despite the incredible job that 3D printed prosthetics are doing in giving hope to thousands of children, we believe it is time to take the next step. Our aim is to build devices that require minimal modifications so that the user him/herself can perform and maintain it at home. 3D printing was our starting point, but a lot of research is not necessary to build a high-quality low-cost device that is a useful tool in our users’ daily lives.

This project started out as volunteering – uniting my builder curiosity to a real need – but became “Projeto Mão Dada” when I realized the potential and relevance of such activity.

 

3 – Have you always been involved in projects like “Mão Dada”? Did you take part in any non-profitable projects like this during your time at TBSRJ?

Yes, the school culture of CAS is invaluable and was one of the reasons why I felt missed taking part on socially relevant projects after graduating from school.

 

4 – What were some of the biggest challenges you faced with this project?

Finding relevant partners was one of the first challenges I encountered. It was a completely new world for me, from the 3D printing perspective as well as the medical perspective. I met with some of the top professionals in both fields absorbing every information they dispensed.
Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find some amazing people to work with. Still, a lot of studying is going on. Other challenges included the Brazilian cumbersome bureaucracy, especially when it comes down to money and the lack of funding available for research initiatives – especially free-lance.
Innovating is challenging in itself – trying to break down what you know to build something new can be daunting especially as an independent organization lead by young professionals. In “Mão Dada” we break down every step into achievable tasks that take us closer to our ultimate goal. Still, every step is a new trial, but that is part of the fun, I guess.

 

Olga, Vini and Yan.

Olga, Vini and Yan.

 

5 – What is the next step of “Projeto Mão Dada” now that you have reached the target of financial aid?

The next step is a deep dive into research – new materials, simpler methods of production – and putting together an organized timetable to meet with these kids or a regular basis enabling the rapid prototyping rhythm we need. Reinventing prosthetics is very exciting, but we need to take it one-step at a time to make sure every detail is looked into.

 

6 – What is the most rewarding thing in working with a project like “Mão Dada”?

Working with social ventures is essentially rewarding. No wonder we hear so much about “making an impact”. Getting to see your efforts applied to real life and being able to change someone else’s life is amazing. In “Mão Dada” specifically, the most rewarding bit is the psychological transformation the children go through. From shy and introspective to playful and smiling kids, even when they are not using their devices. This transformation is the most rewarding part – knowing that prosthetics are simply a tool for something a lot bigger that is self-esteem and freedom from stigmas.

 

7 – What do you think was the most important thing you learned as a person at the The British School?

I believe that The British School shapes its students into becoming questioning individuals, with multiple interests and with passion to pursue their goals. The most important thing I learned at the school is the multidisciplinary within every person and that we should harvest this way of thinking rather than suppressing it and fitting inside a single mould.

 

Vini, first partner of Projeto Mão Dada.

Vini, first partner of Projeto Mão Dada.

September 28, 2018

Goia Mujalli – Class of 2003

Goia Mujalli, Class of 2003, became an artist since living in UK, and is making her debut this week at the Art Rio fair with her paintings. Gabriela de Lamare, Class of 2018, interviewed her for the website.

 

PHOTO-2018-09-25-12-17-42

 

1 – How do you think TBS prepared you and helped develop your artistic side?

 

The art classes were really important to me, as it was the first place where I learnt how to use paint. The art classes were given since we are very young and it was there that I noticed that I enjoyed it.

 

2 – Why did you decide to go to London and what professional and personal opportunities did it bring to you?

 

London had always been a city that attracted me in the sense of its cultural scene. Especially due to it’s mixture of different cultures from all the over the world. I thought to study art in London would be a good experience. Barely I knew I would end up staying there for over seven years now. I must say it wasn’t easy for a foreigner to arrive in the UK. Culture wise, it is very different from Brazil. However, I enjoyed this shift of culture and it helped me grow and immerse myself even more in my practice. I recently got invited as visiting tutor in the Painting department of the BA at Brighton University, which I am very pleased and excited about.

 

3 – Have you always been focused on contemporary art or do you also enjoy other styles of art?

I have been researching historical and contemporary art for almost ten years now. I also studied Graphic Design before in an Industrial Design Bachelor here in Rio. I guess it’s good to be open about things.

 

4 – Since when have you been involved with the Mercedes Viegas Gallery and what is its significance in your career?

I have been working with Mercedes Viegas since last year in December 2017. I think it is very important to have someone that trusts your work and pushes it forward. I have a lovely exchange with Mercedes and I hope to grow even more. Next year I’ll have my first solo show at her gallery and I am really looking forward to it.

 

5 – What is the impact that painting has on your life and where do you get your inspirations from?

I get ideas from whatever life experience I have. Those experiences can come from reading a book, having a conversation, travelling, seeing a show, meeting people, walking, dancing, and mostly exploring the materiality of paint and what it can do on the surface.

 

6 – What are the greatest challenges you face daily as an artist?

The greatest challenges that I face, as an artist is how to always push the work and bring new experiments into the process. It is really important for the artist to always be investigating new ideas even if it’s within the same medium. Also, how to earn money as an artist is a challenge.

 

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7 – How was the process for the exhibition in Art Rio?

This is my first time showing in ArtRio. I am really happy to be showing alongside amazing artists from the gallery.

 

8 – How would you generally describe the purpose and message you want to transmit with your paintings?

The message would be a sensation you get from each work. Each painting transmits a different sensation through colour and it’s interesting to know what response people get from it as this dialogue is also part of my process.

 

9 – How would you say that the TBS shaped you into who you are today as an artist and as a person?

Having had the opportunity to study at the TBS, it offered me to explore and speak a different language and culture. Most of the people that studies at the TBS spends all those years growing up together and we see people change fast throughout the years. For me, I would say the art classes really helped me see what I really liked doing as a profession.

 

10 – Are you planning any big projects or other exhibitions in the near future?

I will be showing in December here in Rio at the Jacarandá, which is an amazing artist run space. It will be a group show and I am really looking forward to show alongside these amazing artists, as it has been a project that has grew along this year.

 

11- Share some of the memories you most treasure from your days at school

The school has been a great place to create friendships that will be for life. I had amazing tutors that really made a change in my thinking. Still after graduation, I kept in touch with tutors and Mr Nash and Rose were really helpful in choosing which schools to study in London. The educational system really prepared me. I have been two years ago to the school and still tutors remembered me, especially Mr Dave Williams. I had an amazing experience and I think the peers were great part of it.

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May 22, 2018

Lorena Lourenço – Class of 2011

Lorena Lourenço - Class of 2011

Lorena Lourenço – Class of 2011 is a filmmaker, director and producer.

After graduating from The British School, Lorena Lourenço (Class of 2011) studied a year at PUC before transferring to UCS (University of Southern California – School of Cinematic Arts – USA) for a course in Cinema. Since then, her #resilience and #creativity have clearly continued to develop, and we are extremely pleased to see that she has won the IndieFEST Intenational Film Award, at San Diego (USA) for her short film “Joy” – written, directed and edited by Lorena!! Congratulations, The British School is proud of your achievements! Some more information about the Film and International Award at http://www.srzd.com/entretenimento/cineasta-brasileira-premio-internacional/

Check out this interview, elaborated and conducted by Gabriela Delamare – Class 11 student (2018).

1- How did the IB Diploma prepare you for your career as a filmmaker and when did you develop an interest in it?

I always knew I wanted to work with something creative, but as I started appreciating the mastery in films such as American Beauty and City of God I realized my passion was filmmaking. My dream of a career in film began to solidify when I was told during an IB curriculum presentation that one person who had recently graduated from the IB Diploma had gone on to pursue a degree in filmmaking. Once I realized that filmmaking was an actual degree I could pursue and that the IB helped you prepare for that I was ecstatic. By the end of that presentation I knew what I would go to college for. I was also extremely lucky in being prepared with the English and Drama courses I took throughout the IB. I started college fully versed in Stanislavsky, Strasberg, Beckett and Shakespeare, which was a great advantage, and to this day these teachings help shape my filmmaking.

2- What is a day in your work like and what challenges do you face as a filmmaker?

It varies depending on the project I am working on. If I am directing a project it varies between adjusting notes to a script, to running lines with actors, to meeting with the Director of Photography and Producers to fine tune the last details of a shoot. If I am producing it goes from location scouting, to coordinating shoots with cast and crew, to sitting in the editing room with a director helping them make creative choices. If I am editing it is usually just me in a dark room cutting and tweaking footage for hours on end. I believe the biggest challenge I face as a filmmaker is finding the platform to portray my work. There is quite a lot of saturation occurring in several areas of the entertainment industry, so there are fewer opportunities for the amount of qualified and talented people trying to break in. Therefore, finding your niche and place in the industry is one of the greatest challenges.

3- How did the school support you on your path to university? Did anyone specifically impact your career choice?

The school was extremely supportive in all the university choices I made. I first chose to go to a college in Brazil, for which I went to all the Vestibular classes TBSRJ offered. Those classes not only prepared me for the vestibular but broadened my horizons and taught me a lot. Six months into PUC I decided I wanted to study abroad instead, so I went back to Mr Garry Nash for help and he was an amazing mentor throughout the entire college application process for an international transfer. I also had amazing support from Mr Guy Smith, who had been a teacher, counselor and friend throughout the entire process.

4- Why did you choose to transfer from PUC to USC and what course were you taking at PUC?

I realized that unfortunately there weren’t as many opportunities in the film industry in Brazil and that most of my curriculum at PUC was not directly focused in film, as I wish it were. So I chose to transfer to an American college to take a stab at Hollywood. I was extremely lucky to have been accepted to USC (University of Southern California), which is lauded as the best film school in the U.S., and the connections and lessons I obtained at USC still help me every day. At PUC, I took many of the basic communications curriculum courses, as well as some Film and Philosophy elective courses. Ultimately, theoretical knowledge I was offered at PUC was extremely important and formative to me.

5- What inspired you to write your short film ‘Joy’?

“Joy” was inspired by an insane year of visa applications and when that visa, which established myself as a female Brazilian working filmmaker in the U.S., was derailed by the Trump administration, all I could do was anxiously wait without any support, security or stability because of my otherness. The longer I remained in that position the longer I realized that the world I lived in was not built for me; an immigrant, a woman, a latina. “Joy” is my cinematic expression of that harrowing experience as well as a way to emotionally process everything I had been through. I could not be more thankful for our actress, Joy Sunday’s, heartbreaking and raw performance in delivering something I had for a long time hidden deep inside me. Through “Joy,” I was able to offer my perspective as an immigrant Latina woman striving to work and live in the current American social climate – one where, unfortunately, xenophobia, sexism and racism seem to run rampant. But that doesn’t mean we can’t fight it.

6- What do you think was the most important thing you learned as a person at the school?

I think BSRJ taught me most of all to express myself, and have the courage to go all out and find what makes me tick, using every creative bone in my body. All of the amazing teachers I had at school validated my voice and perspective as a writer, as a creative and as a person. So much of that initial support is what helped me get to where I am today.

7- Are you planning any other films or other big projects at the moment?

Creating “Joy” and hearing such great responses to it has been extremely validating and has empowered me to dig deeper into a subject that means so much to me. Therefore, I am currently working on a feature-length script about how immigration can play into the fabric of human relationships and sometimes bring us together, but also break us apart. Whilst that script is underway, I work as the production coordinator on a documentary about sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood.

Lorena Lourenço - Class of 2011

Lorena Lourenço - Class of 2011

Lorena Lourenço - Class of 2011

Lorena Lourenço - Class of 2011

 

March 27, 2018

Bruna Sève Patko – Class of 1998

Bruna Sève Patko – Class of 1998 is an entrepreneur and works as a fashion accessory designer. Check out our interview with our alumna!

 Bruna

When did you join and leave TBS? Did you graduate from the school? Where did you go to college?

I joined in Infant 1; I believe that was in 1985/86, and I graduated from TBS in 1998. I went to university in Florence and in NYC, at Instituto Polimoda, and The Fashion Institute of Technology.

 

What professional experiences did you have before becoming a successful fashion accessory designer?

In NYC I had the chance to work at the PR department of Tod’s and in the Sales and Merchandising department of Celine. Then I moved to Budapest where I worked at two Hungarian fashion start-ups called Tisza, a former iconic ex-socialist tennis shoes label, and at Nanushka. I moved away from fashion and went to join a strategic marketing consultancy boutique firm called The Garrison Group, working on projects across Hungary, Poland, Romania and Russia. After working at the Garrison Group, I joined Nike as their marketing director for Hungary.

 

Your husband is Hungarian and, once married, you lived in Budapest for almost ten years or more. What background did TBS provide that made a difference in this relationship and in your international life experiences?

Having studied at TBS, the school opened my eyes and head to the world. One of the biggest things I learnt at the school was to learn how to think, listen and see things from different perspectives. It sounds so obvious when you say it out loud but the truth is that learning how to see things from different perspectives is a skill that makes us adaptable to different circumstances. The fact that the school always encouraged debates, analysing and discussing topics through different perspectives, made me a more global thinker. With that, being married to a foreigner and living in such a different city like Budapest was putting in practice a lot of the basic life skills that I learnt at the school.

 

Please describe your business and tell us some of the challenges you face in your daily life as an entrepreneur.

I started LOKALWEAR while living in Budapest. My goal was to create a fashion brand that had sustainability and transparency at its core. I was in love with Hungarian folk art and thought its richness had to be shared and transformed to become more contemporary and wearable. I started to develop a line of contemporary jewellery focused on local production, transparency in production and inspiration, and started developing a network of local suppliers, artisans, retired ladies and people with physical disabilities. The idea was to create beautiful authentic pieces that had the total involvement of the locals and people who were outside of the traditional labour force in its making. With my return to Rio, I brought with me these collections and concepts and started developing new Brazilian collections. The goal is to connect people to places and other people through these accessories. It is like with a pair of earrings you get to discover the northeastern part of Hungary, Pantanal, the Brazilian Savanna and, in turn, you transform traditional crafts and involve the locals in the production, bringing authenticity and stimulating the local economy all at the same time.

The challenges are many. In Brazil, the ecosystem is not favourable for innovation. Every collection we develop involves new raw materials, andn trials and errors which require time and capital. So keeping this ratio between innovation, trial, error, novelty and market time is a constant challenge. The precarious infrastructure and high costs of Brazil is another challenge. Communication is also a challenge. In Hungary my challenges were in making people believe that this crazy idea of revitalizing folk art through fashion accessories was a good idea, whereas here the challenges are with basic service providers and in making sure that all the people involved in our supply chain understand the importance of their work and are committed to deadlines.

 

Share with us some of your most vivid memories from your days at school.

I still remember my first day at TBS. Sports’ day at the Sitio, Founders’ Day Fêtes, the volleyball and basketball teams competitions, the nurse, Marinalva, who was more than a nurse; her sweetness and how she took care of an entire school was amazing. The trips we went on with the school. The field trips, the history classes, the art classes with Ms. Alba and Ms. Arlete. The openness that the teachers had with the students was very unique. The teachers I had at the school had the skill to be both tough and friendly, with Ms. Carpinteiro being a great example; it is a trait that as I get older I appreciate more and more. At my time the school was small so my memories are of this great extended family. We knew all the teachers and students from a few classes above and below. And, most importantly, the friends I made at the school, many of which are still present in my day-to-day life.

 

Is there any teacher or subject that had an impact on your career choice?

Yes, Ms. Helida in Infant 2, who always made sure that learning how to read and write was fun and exciting. Ms. Sylvia in class three was very cosmopolitan and would share references from other cultures to our classes, like traditional Mayan songs. Ms. Carpinteiro, my maths teacher, for many years taught me to be analytical, which is something I only realised when I was working with strategic marketing many years later. Ms. Arlete, who encouraged me to pursue my creative side and motivated me to look at artists who expressed themselves through different media and through the use of colour, like Niki de Saint Phalle. Mr Nash and Ms.Eutalia, who had so much passion teaching history that made me a more curious and questioning person. Marco Antonio, the most passionate teacher of them all, who taught me Brazilian history. He would organise field trips with us outside school days, in his own time, to show us the complexity and beauty of our city and country, and Mr. Newman, the most gentlemanly of the gentleman, he was firm but encouraged me constantly.

 

Do you still keep in touch with classmates? Would you like the school to promote more events for alumni?

Yes, I keep in touch with many of them. It would be great for the school to have some sort of alumni association or database where people could find each other and reach out as well.

 

In one phrase, what can you say about TBS?

The school encourages you to challenge yourself, giving you responsibility, treating the students with maturity and encouraging long lasting true friendships and respect. I love it.