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Meet Luisa Novo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Luisa Novo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Luisa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started my journey in film when I decided to study Cinema in college in Brazil. My mom was the one that suggested I choose Cinema as a major because I loved films so much. I would rent 5 DVDs at a time in our local video store. Anything and everything. The walls of my bedroom were full of posters they would give out for free. In Brazil is a little different than here; you have to choose a major in each university you want to apply, and take a standardized test for each school, and you only compete for spots with others pursuing the same major. So in some schools I chose Cinema or Audiovisual, others Journalism and Marketing. In the end, I followed the artistic path.

I started the course without much knowledge of “classic” cinema, so I had a lot to catch up on. It was very focused on theory and thinking about cinema, which I am really grateful for because it helped me build a repertoire and an understanding of the art form. In the middle of my 4 years, I got a scholarship to spend a semester studying at NYU in an exchange program. It was one of the most amazing times of my life. It was my second time living abroad by myself, and my first time in the US. New York is such a great place to be, full of art and passion. Every corner of the city is inspiring. I took it in as much as I could before having to go back to Brazil to finish my Bachelor’s degree. I shot my first short film, “Manuela”, as my thesis. It was an amazing experience and my first time really writing a script and directing.

After I graduated, I decided to come back to the States to pursue a more hands-on education, more technical. So I enrolled at the New York Film Academy and started my journey here in the US. I have tried many roles since, from development to production, but what I am really passionate about is Directing. I have written and directed 7 short films, and I am developing with a friend a workplace comedy web series. I have written a feature film about female friendship that is very dear to me. I’m in the process of rewriting it and hopefully I’ll get to direct it in the near future.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
A lot of the challenges come from my own self-doubts. This industry is so competitive, that you keep wondering if you have what it takes to make it. So you need to really focus on your goals. I am never satisfied with what I know. I keep pursuing knowledge, keep learning. If I ever feel like I am straying from the path, like I’m putting myself down too much, I surround myself with genuine, talented, hardworking people, and keep creating. It’s so important to find people you want to work with, to find your core collaborators. Collaboration is key in this industry. That’s why networking is so important. You have to build your community. People tend to hire people they already know instead of gambling on someone new, because they don’t want to spent infinite hours with terrible people. Selling myself and my ideas is still a challenge for me, but I’m working on it.

Tell us more about your work.
I consider myself a Filmmaker. My projects have been very personal so far. I write mostly dramas about women’s issues and struggles in society, some that I have personally gone through, some that are in spirit related to my experiences. I believe I have a specific point of view on broader subjects and like to think that my films can resonate with audiences, help them feel seen and heard. That’s the beauty of cinema, of art. Different people can understand and feel different things when watching a film, but the purpose is to engage, to feel that something, no matter what it is for you. In my next project I am going to venture outside of my comfort zone and direct comedy, but I’m really excited about it. Comedy comes from the truth of the characters and situations, and can make complex subjects more relatable.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
In every business luck plays a part; meeting the right people, being at the right place at the right time. So I do think that I have had some luck along the way. But you can’t rely on it, you need to do the work, to maximize all the opportunities and get lucky. I also can’t stress enough how having a support system makes a difference in your outcome. Without my parents support and cheering there was no way I would be where I am today.

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Image Credit:
Vladislav Nikitn, Stefano Matteo, @giselaprishker, Bruno Bondarenv, Yana Veselova

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