I am a former teacher and (hopefully) future documentarian who’s kind of a teacher again..
I currently live in Oakland, work in South San Francisco, and sit in a lot of traffic. I used to work with the filmmaker Rob Nilsson doing marketing and graphic design, and have worked as a production assistant, an art director,depending on what came up. I will be forever grateful to Rob because it was on the set of one of his films when I first heard another human being say I’m good at telling stories.
I started taking classes at the Marsh, a theater in Berkeley (and San Francisco) where one can develop performance of one’s own writing. I didn’t know what to write about, so I just skulked on stage and started telling stories about my grandfather. Even there, I was a crazy trying to raise our lusophone profile. Then the monologue I wrote there won a scholarship to Disquiet International, a summer writing program in Lisbon, Portugal. No joke. Years of trying to do anything with photography and film=nothing. One monologue, and I’m on a plane.
I grew up in the Central Valley, where there is a huge Portuguese population, but my parents didn’t outwardly participate in it much. My mom hates, hates, HATES crowds. But my parents do love to go to the Portuguese literary symposium that is thrown in Tulare, California every year, (well, some years in Tulare) but that’s hardly kid friendly. But that symposium is where my prodigal heart began to return home and ask for forgiveness. I went with my parents in 2002 after moving home from college, and was completely heartbroken to have to limit the seminars I attended to English-speaking ones, which frankly, were not as interesting-sounding as the ones in Portuguese.
After high school, I spent nine years in San Diego, most it studying film and multimedia at UCSD. I still really don’t like the beach. During that time I was an exchange student in France. I would’ve loved to go to Portugal, but of course, UCSD had cut its Portuguese department in the early 90’s. Then I was an English teacher for a while. And I’m one again. But I’m not giving up what I always was interested in: documenting Portuguese culture as I’ve experienced it, because I’ve never seen anything close to my point of view anywhere, ever.
I also have a healthy obsession for the UK. I worked there for a summer over a decade ago, and I still, still, STILL want to go back, and not for just a vacation.
I’m working on it, among other things. 😉
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Oh, and by the way, Faiza Ali took that amazing profile pic of me with my laptop that is seriously the most flattering picture I’ve taken after 30. Check her out: http://www.faizaphoto.com/