Blog Meet the JBFC’s Incoming Artist-In-Residence, Bernardo Britto

Posted May 24, 2017

By Sophie Cowley

Beginning May 30, the Jacob Burns Media Arts Lab will welcome in a new artist-in-residence: Bernardo Britto. Bernardo is an award-winning filmmaker and animator whose impressive array of work has played at a number of festivals, including Sundance and SXSW. His debut feature, Jacqueline (Argentine), is a hilarious mockumentary-style film that premiered at Sundance NEXT in 2016.

While at the Burns, Bernardo will work on several projects, ranging from pre-production for a new film to collaborating with our very own Creative Culture class. He will also work alongside JBFC Education programmers to help grow our creative curriculum.

“Education and I are partnering to plan the best way to share his work and creative approach as a conversation starter around how to help summer camper groups approach their own creative projects with curiosity and experimentation,” wrote Sean Weiner, director of Creative Culture, in an email. “The session will include both summer staff and our full time faculty.”

Additionally, on June 27, we will be showing Bernardo’s short film, Yearbook, before a special screening of Y Tu Mama Tambien. Bernardo will host the screening and take part in a Q&A afterward.

I was lucky enough to interview Bernardo, before his arrival at the JBFC, to find out about his plans for this upcoming month. Below is our conversation via email.

JBFC: How did you first hear about the Burns? What made you decide to accept the position as Artist-In-Residence?

Bernardo Britto: I had known about the JBFC for years just from living in New York and knowing people who had been there. But I first heard about the Artist-in-Residence programs from Shira Rockowitz at the Sundance Institute. She told me about all the cool stuff they’re doing and when I visited and met with Sean Weiner, I agreed that they were doing a lot of cool stuff.

It just seemed like a great opportunity to get out of the city for a bit but also to get to work and collaborate with a lot of other filmmakers. And I don’t think I’d ever be able to turn down the chance to live right next to a movie theater.

 JBFC: Can you tell us a bit about the projects you will be working on during your time at the JBFC?

Bernardo Britto: I will be working on a couple different projects. Mostly I’ll be working on new animated short films, writing and storyboarding them, as well as doing some work for a speedboat movie that I’ll be shooting in Miami in August. It’ll be a short that will be a part of a bigger anthology of speedboat movies. There is a real demand right now for movies about speedboats. I think. I hope.

Your film, Jacqueline (Argentine) looks hysterical. What inspired the move from animation to live-action film? Or were you always working with both?

Bernardo Britto: I was always working with both while I was in film school. After film school animation was just a much easier way to actually realize my ideas since I didn’t have to rely on a crew or worry about budgets and schedules and all that—it was just me in my apartment with a pencil and a lot of paper.

But then I knew I would eventually make live action things. And I knew I had to do something sooner rather than later otherwise people would just forever think of me as an animator and I’d never be able to make something that was live action. But the goal is to always do both forever. They both cater to very different parts of my brain.

What are you most looking forward to during your time as Artist-In-Residence?

Bernardo Britto: I’m looking forward to having some time to really focus on my writing. I’m hoping Pleasantville and the JBFC and everyone I meet inspire me in all sorts of new and exciting ways that I don’t know about yet. Also, I’m really looking forward to watching movies in the theater and meeting some of the young and up and coming filmmakers.

Where do you find support for your filmmaking? What do you hope to inspire in up-and-coming filmmakers, such as the students in our Creative Culture class?

Bernardo Britto: I find constant support from my friends and family and it would be near impossible to keep going without some of that. But I also have been lucky enough to get support in my career from film festivals and institutions like Sundance. As well as getting involved with Borscht Corp, which is a film/art collective in Miami that is probably responsible for most of the good things that have happened to me.

I hope I’m able to show people that filmmaking is actually a doable thing. And that the most important thing is to develop your own vision and sensibilities as opposed to trying to fit into what “the industry” wants. Eventually the hope is that the stuff you’re doing will be good enough that the industry will carve out a place just for you. I think. I hope.

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