We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Gil de Freitas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julia, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
As a film editor, I felt like the field that I could land my skills towards the biggest potential social impact was documentaries. Documentaries in their very essence tend to disrupt the way that people see a subject. It pulls the curtain and allows viewers to understand the experience of others. Because of this, I joined a company with a real interest in social themes and impact. While I am very fulfilled by the type of work that I do there, I also wanted to explore my own interests in fine arts through the medium of documentaries. That lead me to create my own project aiming to make short documentaries of local artists – focussing on voices that were historically ignored. Los Angeles has one of the most interesting and diverse art communities in the work. Doing my small part to make sure that upcoming minority artists get a chance to have their work seen by the major public is something that I’m very passionate about. I feel that when people see artists that look/talk/live like them it can inspire further artistic appreciation and interest.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I first got into film editing I was very insecure due to my previous professional experiences being more focused on fine arts. I originally feared the technical challenges that such a profession would entail. But what I didn’t realize then is that spending years as an art educator and facilitator taught me how to translate artistic concepts and poetic emotion on a level that most people can digest. This didactic deconstruction of art is in some ways the center of film editing. As an editor, I feel like my main job is to teach the viewer how to watch the movie. They translate the visual medium into cuts, transitions, and movements that make it watchable. Therefore, in some ways, I never really changed professions. I was an art facilitator then, and I’m an art facilitator now – what changed were my tools.
Of course, one’s talents and sensibilities can only take them so far, so because I was a person that entered this career later than others, I knew I had to work twice as hard to create a strong basis for myself. I self-taught all the main editing softwares, and got certified in the industry staples. I voraciously consumed any material that could make me a better editor. I got into a company where I know that my efforts were going to be recognized and gave 110% every day. This made people want to teach me more, and see what I could bring to the table.
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?
Being a vegetarian from a place with fewer vegetarians than Los Angeles, it is truly incredible to see that in LA vegetarian and vegan restaurants don’t just cater to that crowd but try to keep their culinary roots while creating a plant-based menu. It is so easy to find a vegetarian version of most international cuisines in Los Angeles. This is something that most Angelinos take for granted, but I’m sure if a friend was visiting it would shock them, and make for a very pleasurable trip. My personal favorite in this category is Ramen Hood in the Grand Central Market. They manage to offer traditional Japanese ramen that is delicious while being completely vegan.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As a film editor, there is an artist that has deeply impacted my own work. Joseph Beuys’ sensibility to conceptual constructions inspired me to express emotion and ideas with non-verbal language. He is in some ways the first artist that truly showed me how far one can stretch the visual medium as to create an internal and external conversation. Having contact with his work early on, imprinted in me his most famous statement “everybody is an artist” – in my current work in documentaries I try to apply that idea whenever I’m exploring a subject. In a way, everyone’s life is an artwork, and having the ability to showcase that artwork to other people is something that I consider a deep privilege.
On a more practical level, I also have a deep appreciation for every person that took an interest in me and my work early on. There are too many to be thanked individually, but all share a common characteristic – they were all people that came from the margins and after breaking in found that helping others do the same was a priority to them. I had many mentors, partners, and helpers and I consider each of them to be a crucial part of my personal history as an artist. The ultimate gift that they gave me was the wish to help others as they helped me as soon as I have the chance.