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.