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Neither Girl Nor Woman: An Interview with Leo Sbabo Guerra

Tell us about yourself. How did you become an artist?

Well, I was always interested in a lot of things, I’m very observant and curious in a way, like to listen to older people, look at the world in a different way. In 2015 I opened a YouTube channel with two friends about soccer, but I became more fascinated with the process of writing a script, filming and editing. Slowly I put myself in the industry and in 2018 started my journey as a solo filmmaker. Now working as a freelance cinematographer, and director on projects for my production company Índios.

What was your first job in the art field?

It was in 2018, for a personal trainer. It was he kind of showing it how to do the exercises

Director Leo Sbabo Guerra

and me filming. Personally, I just had an idea of what I was doing, I didn't know much at the time. He paid me R$150, in Brazilian real, like $30 dollars.

What makes you want to tell stories? In other words, what are the themes/issues

you want to incorporate into your work?

I really don’t have a theme or issue that I want to talk about specifically. I think it just really comes naturally. Being a story that has a critical vision of the world or just a simple one that maybe doesn't say anything, just makes people laugh. But what really makes me do this job is because it is something you put in the world for eternity. All of us are going to die, but the films we make, something that we photograph today, people in the future are going to see how the world was in the past, how we think or see things. Is like freeze time.

Please tell us about your vision and your method of approaching a new project?

Because I generally shoot low budget or really no budget projects, I really simplify my job. I’m a simple man, I don’t like complexity and I have to say that today’s days we have a lot of people, the vast majority, that love that. I’m not saying that we just have to do simplistic things, but simple things. Simplistic is just do whatever we want and think, don’t do much because of laziness. Simple is your choices, you think a lot to find something elegant, efficient, don’t cost much, or nothing, and are simple.

Who are your filmmaking influencers? What are the films that were influential for


I really can’t list the people that I really admired, who will say the movies! I just watch a lot of films, from the beginning of the cinema to today’s days. From directors, cinematographers or cameramans from the past, I just really know and admire everyone, from all over the countries.

How do you think the industry is changing? How has COVID affected independent


Even though I'm just 20 years old, I’m kind of like Benjamin Button, the old kid. And I have to say that in a way, I don’t like the way the industry is turning. Well, of course if the industry didn't democratize in terms of access to equipment, maybe I would not be answering this questions today. But I think that we are losting the essence of cinema, just my opinion.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists? What are some of the things they

must follow/avoid?

Watch a lot movies, different kinds, listen to older people, study a lot, know that to never going to know nothing, and just make f*cking films!

Do you think films/stories can bring about a change in the world?

I really don’t know about that, Maybe just an influence. I think the change comes from the person.

What do you think people like to watch these days? Has the pandemic changed

people’s taste?

I really don’t like what is in the mainstream of cinema, maybe this is what the general people want to see.

Please tell us about your upcoming projects.

I have a lot of projects coming! Ones that I think I’m going to shoot this year and somes that are gonna be next year. But the upcomings ones are two short films: “Faces of Temptation”, an erotic thriller, comedy, mystery, and “When Noise Is Too Much Noise”, a suspense one.


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