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Meet Maria Freire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Freire.

Maria, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I don’t come from an artistic family, so when I first thought of filmmaking, I wasn’t really sure what that meant. I was 16 years old and went to a very traditional catholic school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There we were taught that, either you choose to be an engineer/lawyer/doctor or you’ll be a failure. I didn’t believe I fit in those categories, but knew nothing beyond those paths. When I got the advice to pursue the things I loved, I could only think of movies. Films were an escape path for me as I grew up. When I began learning more about filmmaking as a career, my parents tried to be as supportive as they could. My first step was to attend New York Film Academy’s intensive four week summer course. There, I knew that I was making the right decision and my excitement for the craft only grew. Then I enrolled in one of the best filmmaking university in Rio and graduated with a degree in Social Communication, with an emphasis in Filmmaking. Following that, I worked hard to establish myself in the business. I was doing assistant producer work, assistant director, DIT— anything I could get my hands on.

However, at the end of the day, all I wanted to do was be an editor. In order to achieve that goal, I knew I would have to put myself out there even more. After receiving encouragement from my parents, I decided to apply to AFI Conservatory and once accepted, my journey towards pursuing my dream truly began. It was a very intense experience – many late nights, long days that became weeks that became months – but I needed to be pushed to my limit so I could see the many things I could achieve, and that I did. I also met incredible people that became collaborators and friends. Since graduating I have been given the opportunity to work alongside Editors I could only have dreamt of meeting, professionals that I have admired for so long. I felt very blessed for the experiences I’ve had so far and how people believed in me and my potential. After realizing that, I knew that I had made the right decision and stopped second guessing myself. In the summer of 2019, I graduated with an MFA in Editing and have since been working as an Assistant Editor.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t been smooth. I had to work so hard to get to where I am today. I am thankful for my family, colleagues and mentors who have helped along this journey to achieving my goals. Being a female immigrant, I always thought I had to work beyond expectations for things, because this dream felt like it had a deadline. There are many “what if’s” in my future that sometimes scare me. What if I don’t get my working visa, what if my time is up and I can’t renew my status, what if what I have done so far is not enough? The list goes on and at times, but what I do know is that I can only do what is in my power. I will always go above and beyond, grabbing hold of all the opportunities that come my way. Though this industry is tough, and the best roads are never the smoothest- I have learned to focus on my accomplishments thus far. And that makes me proud.

Maria Freire – what should we know? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m a Brazilian Editor/Assistant Editor based in Los Angeles. The majority of my experience is in short films, so I’d say my main focus is narrative storytelling. I admire all genres, but have more experience with drama, romance and thriller. I believe that collaboration is key and having an environment of honesty and creativity creates the best result for the story. As a professional, I thrive on my communication skills and on how to adapt to unexpected situations. I think all the small details help the filmmakers achieve a very positive work environment.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I had the opportunity to work with Academy Award nominee Pamela Martin (‘Little Miss Sunshine’) on her latest project, ‘Seberg’. Then I went on to work on ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ with an incredible team of editors: Mark Helfrich, Steve Edwards and Tara Timpone. Both experiences were vital to my growth as an editor and as a professional in this industry. Those experiences gave me the confidence to aim high. Currently, I work as Assistant Editor for José Padilha (a Brazilian Director and Executive Producer of ‘Elite Squad’, ‘Narcos’). I have also applied to the Motion Picture Editors Guild, and hope to acquire a placement on their Roster.

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Image Credit:
Antoine Combelles
Joel E. Schaeffer

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