IMG_2104_cropped5Originally born in Brazil, I moved to the United States with my family when I was eight years old. At the time, I spoke very little English and felt completely out of place in my new home. Having to learn a new language and adapt to my unfamiliar surroundings was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. But one of the things that brought me some comfort amidst this time of transition was film. Whenever I felt homesick or like I did not belong, I would just pop in a VHS tape of a movie, and that always made me feel just a little bit better.

Almost exactly a year after our move, I sat in front of the TV with my family and watched Titanic win eleven Academy Awards. As those golden statuettes got handed out, I found myself completely mesmerized by the entire world of filmmaking. So that very night, I grabbed a pen and some paper and started writing a letter to Steven Spielberg, the biggest, most famous filmmaker I could think of at the time. Since my proposal was for a film about the life of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, I began reading his biography, hoping that by gathering as much information as possible, I would show Mr. Spielberg just how dedicated I was to this opportunity. After about two weeks of working on the letter, making it as perfect as I possibly could, I put it in an envelope and mailed it.

Every day after school, I would run to the mailbox and check to see if I had gotten a reply. I remember spending many sleepless nights, lying in bed, thinking about the possibility that Mr. Spielberg would love my idea, and all my dreams would come true. After about a month went by, I had almost given up all hope of a reply, when I heard my mom yell out, “You got a letter!” I ripped open the envelope in excitement, thinking that, at that very moment, my life was going to change forever. I was convinced that Mr. Spielberg would say yes and it was just a matter of time before I would be up on stage next to him, receiving my Academy Award. Even though he declined, the words at the end of that letter have stayed with me every day since: “with the passion you have for filmmaking, pursue your dreams and they will come true.”

After that letter, I put my hands on a camera every chance I got. My parents had just bought a small Sony Camcorder, and whenever I had some free time, I would beg them to let me use it. In essentially all of our home movies, I either operated the camera, or I was in the background, pleading with my parents to let me take over the recording. It was not until my senior year of high school, however, that I had the opportunity to get a more formal and structured education in filmmaking. It was a very basic class, but it was here that I realized just how much I loved working on films. My friends and I tackled a number of different projects, spending countless hours working through each level of production, and I loved every single second of it.

Upon graduating high school, I had to put my filmmaking dreams on hold. I ended up attending the University of California, Berkeley, earning a degree in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business, in addition to spending a semester studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain. When the time came for me to find a job in the business world, I had a bit of a tough time, not so much because the opportunities were not there, but because my heart was still devoted to becoming a filmmaker. I subsequently enrolled at the Academy of Art University, where my love of films has only grown stronger, and my drive and determination has been aided by the development of my filmmaking skills. With several short films now under my belt, I am ready to step out into the industry, striving to share powerful and compelling stories with people all over the world.

Academy of Art University
, San Francisco, CA. 2010-2013.
M.F.A., Motion Pictures & Television – Directing.

University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA. 2005-2009.
B.S., Haas School of Business – Business Administration.

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