Sao Paulo, Brazil - Jade Catta Preta
I was recently approached by my talented friend Jade Catta Preta to take a trip to Brazil to explore the comedy scene and her roots there. Jade is a Brazilian born comic and actress who moved to the states at the age of 12. The point of this trip was for her to connect with her roots as an adult in a meaningful way and to bravely attempt her set in Portugese for the first time.
After a week of shooting for another project I rushed into the prep for this trip. Vaccines, Visas, Insurance, Gear etc all right before the madness of the holidays. My initial thoughts were ones of concern, as I don't think rushing into a doc project is the right way to make excellent content. It takes preparation and planning to be effective in my world view. So needless to say, rushing into an international shoot was not my favorite thing in the world. Not to mention I haven't shot any of my own footage in quite some time, having the luxury of working with cinematographers. My concerns were of prep, intentionality of content, and most of all safety, as brandishing a camera in a South American country isn't the smartest idea. I could not of been more off in my estimations.
In fact the opposite was true. The people of Brazil are warm, and welcoming. They share my love for food and the whole trip was an incredibly positive experience. Jade, her friends and her family are very special people who welcomed me into their homes and country with open arms. The content was actually of profound substance, and deeper than I had imagined. The lack of preparation in this case and the spontaneity it incurred was extremely beneficial to the project. Ultimatly shooting, directing and running sound on this, although challenging, created intimacy on screen. On a personal note it allowed me to connect with my orgins and re-affirmed my love for the craft.
The experience seemed even more important for Jade, reconnecting with family and recovering lost culture. I believe it will have a very meaningful impact on her comedy and the quality of her content. In the 11 days we were there she did 9 shows in Portuguese and improved substantially each time. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her taking that risk. Could you move to another country and throw yourself into that situation? I wouldnt even be able to do an open mic here in the states.
One of the most surprising things about Brazil was that the comedy scene is so young. It's only a few years old, yet the community is so strong. We met the biggest comics in Brazil as well as open mic comics, all of which were supportive of each other and want to make the scene stronger and better as a whole. Not selfish interests, but righteous ones.
I am very excited about this project. We have another 5 days of principle to do in LA and after that I can start shaping something up. This project found itself in production. That's something I try to avoid most of the time, but the journey of making this will hopefully come across on screen. This film is about heritage, family, self exploration, fate, predetermination and personal growth. Thank you Jade and all the wonderful people involved in this. I'm honored to tell this story.