News  ·  01 | 12 | 2022

A Latin-American Academy to Craft a Profession

Project Manager Julia Duarte recounts the recently concluded São Paulo Industry Academy, an edition filled with encounters, growth and… candlelight.

The sixth edition of the São Paulo Industry Academco-organized by BrLab and the Locarno Film Festival, with support from Projeto Paradiso and Spcine, and media support from LatAm Cinema, came to an end, on location, on November 27. It was the first physical get-together for the team after two remote editions, with eleven young people immersing themselves in the world of a profession in the making. Not over the course of a mere three days, but that’s part of it. Says Project Manager Julia Duarte: «Most industry professionals, especially from the previous generation, learned their job by doing it, and with very few spaces to question it. I believe the opportunity of participating in such a training allows young professionals to learn from each other, but also learn that sharing experiences are enriching and useful for the business. Also, creating your own network of professionals – not depending directly on the ones that you create by working – opens up new opportunities, and I guess it also helps boosting their confidence on themselves»

How important was it to be physically together again?
The past two editions of the SP Academy were online, and it was a great experience to decentralize the workshop. We were able to select people from different areas in the region, which was a very positive experience. However, nothing can substitute the physical edition in terms of relationships and bonding between participants. Although the groups of online editions got really close, this one was eager to be around people again. And we were able to have a group with participants from all over the continent: North America was represented by Mexico, Central by Dominican Republic and Cuba (with a participant who lives in Uruguay), and in the South we had not only 5 participants from Brazil, but also two from Peru, and one from Chile»

How was the experience?
«As always, the Industry Academy is an amazing experience. I believe not just the participants were happy but tutors, and myself, can learn a lot when in contact with such a heterogenous group as the Academy participants, with different cultures and realities – although with many similitudes. It was a very intense program across only three days, apart from networking events almost every evening. It’s a tiring but very fruitful immersion in the industry, with sessions about distribution, sales, programming…».

How is the film industry growing in that Region?
«In Brazil, and I believe in all of Latin America, cinema universities and courses only form ‘creative minds’. A few years ago, it was very hard to find young professionals starting their careers in the Industry – usually working for a festival or a distribution company was more like a second job while investing in producing and directing. In the past decade I believe the understanding of the industry itself has changed a lot, and now you see more and more young people wanting to participate in the diffusion, exhibition or commercialization of independent cinema. Also, maybe because of the growth in production, many festivals, film clubs, or independent ways of distributing are being created in the region».

What particular memory do you take away from the Academy?
«Each Academy creates unique memories of partnerships and commitment. From this year, as well, I’ll definitely remember their good relationship with each other. But I’ll also take the memory of the cocktail at the Swiss consulate when we were able to gather this year’s participants with people who participated in the previous year – it was very enriching to see them all together exchanging experiences. And I’ll also remember the commitment of the group to enjoy an almost candlelit session of Sales, tutored by Lidia Damatto, during the Brazilian match of the World Cup, when there was a power cut where the session took place... Even with many distractions, they were able to enjoy it».