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Meet Francisco Pereira Coutinho

Today we’d like to introduce you to Francisco Pereira Coutinho.

Francisco, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a young kid, I never quite knew what I wanted to do for a living. I ended up doing a Business Management degree because it was broad, and “respectable”, and it could buy me time to figure it out. At the time I was gravitating towards Marketing, as it allowed me to be more expressive and creative – and so I started working at an ad agency in Lisbon, Portugal.

One day, my boss had me go to a set with some customers, where a commercial was being shot. I think that day changed my life – I was blown away by the magic of that environment, and discovered that’s what I’d been looking for all those years.

I quit my job and made my first short film, and applied to Film School in the US. Naturally, the film was absolutely terrible, and I wasn’t accepted. I even thought about giving up, but thanks to my parents and friends, I made a new movie – which was slightly *less* terrible – applied again, and this time got into LMU in LA.

After three years of living in this beautiful city, I am now graduated and on track to fulfill my dream.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There have been some hurdles, but I really cannot complain. I’ve been extremely lucky to even have this opportunity, and the challenges are simply part of the process.

I’d say one of the hardest things has been staying away from my family and friends back in Portugal.

Another thing, which was a major issue when I was starting out, was not letting my failures demotivate me. I used to have an idea of perfection that was naturally never achieved, and so I saw the issues in my films as defining characteristics of my failure as a Director. With time, I have learned to welcome and learn from those imperfections, and it has helped me grow tremendously with each project I make.

Please tell us more about your work.
As a Director, I tend to go for character-driven stories, usually revolving around families, love and self-discovery. I dedicate a lot of time to the choice of my settings and wardrobes and take great pleasure in building the characters’ world through the environment around them. I find it quite interesting how much a space can say about the people who created it.

In addition, I am a lover of celluloid film. I love how it affects my process and the weight of responsibility that it carries on set. Plus, when you get the images back from the lab, there is a beautiful texture and color that feels so random and true. I think images captured on film have an inexplicable ability to create an emotional connection with viewers – and that is quite magic.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I don’t think I would have done anything differently. I am who I am, and I acted accordingly. It might be cheesy to say, but I do feel that even the mistakes I’ve made have helped me learn something new. I wouldn’t want to miss out on that 🙂

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