We had the good fortune of connecting with Bia Jurema and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bia, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
You don’t have to jump out of a plane or scale a mountain to be a risk taker. Falling in love is risky. Following a dream shared by many is risky. Starting a life in a city where you don’t know anyone’s name, taking credit for the writing you usually post anonymously, forgiving someone who’s wronged you in the past. Risks are implicit in the precarious way of life. Art is inherently risky. No one’s made anything interesting or worthy by playing it safe. The everyday risks we take, however small, are necessary in expanding our craft and character – it propels us forward.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been focusing on writing the ideas in my head. Putting characters and narratives into a scripted format has been really exciting for me. I spent a lot of my early career honing my style as a director who was mostly working in the branded and commercial space. The storytelling looks a bit different there. Although I was spearheading a ton of treatments and briefs, I was actively avoiding writing. But, honing my voice in that medium certainly gave me the confidence to thrust myself into other spaces. Now I feel ready and motivated to start this new chapter of my career. In many ways that’s what I’ve always wanted to do – write and direct films. It’s time for BIPOC, female, queer, and marginalized voices to take the mic. For the first time I think the world is finally listening to the intersectionality of these identities. And I want to be a part of the narrative.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If a friend was visiting for a week, I would rent an RV and take them up and down the coast of California. I would bring my camera and edit every little detail into a road trip film – squatting to pee on the side of the PCH, seeing a Joshua tree up close for the first time, cracking open a beer in Big Sur, running away from the freezing cold San Diego waters. Long after they leave, and we are miles and miles apart again, we can revel in distant memories.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Jason McMerty is my university professor turned mentor. In college, he always pushed me to be a better filmmaker by way of brutally honest critique. After I graduated and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a freelance career, he provided me with my first work opportunities and was keen on recommending me whenever he could. It was apparent he believed in me. As a stranger to a new city, that was reassuring. Today, he continues to play a massive role in my professional life by lending spaces and equipment, offering advice, inviting me to his classrooms, and just generally uplifting my creativity. J’s number one priority is to see his students flourish. Much of my success is a direct result of his investment in the betterment of my career.
Images by Bia Jurema, Charlotte H. Condy.