Strictly Business #22: Thais Nepomuceno

Thais Nepomuceno // Light Designer. Film Maker.

Born and raised in the peripheral neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I grew up in favelas where the State is absent. Yet, through a social project implemented by the city, I was introduced to Drama acting at age 14 in an amateur group, and by age 16, I joined a community stage production where a light designing workshop was offered. The curiosity became a passion and I started to be asked to run shows in the area. Years later, after finishing a renowned drama acting school in Rio (at CAL), searching for a career, I found my bachelor study program – Production Management in Arts. That opened possibilities of new professions in the realms of performing. My passion for cinema arose.

That’s when I started an internship at another social institution and was in contact with Afro-Brazilian music expressions such as Caxambu do Salgueiro and Jongo da Serrinha. The second inspired me to do a music project about the hood of Madureira, in the region where I grew up. In 2009, the idea for the music documentary ‘Herdeiros (HEIRS)’ was born.

But it was only 10 years later, after a traumatic unemployment in Berlin, when I felt nothing worse could happen, that I found the strength to continue while researching and starting the production of the film which was shot in 2020 and finalized in September 2021. ‘Herdeiros’ brings to screen how a marginalized community survives without State support by organizing an educational program through African Diasporic arts and knowledge, sharing the oral traditions from the Bantus brought to Brazil during colonial time with the youth. The film’s team mainly consists of BIWoC; their work was fundamental for the project.

In the last couple of years, working with PoC and queer artists, I found my purpose. Consequently, my focus as a light designer for stage performances and as a filmmaker now lies on projects for and by BIPoC and minority communities; both, on stage and on screen. Working with BIW*oC is an essential need for me as I, as a woman, have always felt depreciated in my fields of work. Therefore, I believe that by collaborating with and employing BIW*oC we can make the work environment more appreciative, well-balanced, and a real safer space can be established.

If you’re interested to get in touch with Thais, check out her Instagram account @_wewe_re

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