We had the good fortune of connecting with Luísa Dalé Silva and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Luísa, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I’m from Brazil, the 5th largest country in the world, a country so rich in its culture and natural resources. I was born in the State of São Paulo but spent a vast part of my life in the young capital, Brasília, a city that was built in the 60s to be the new capital of Brazil, no longer Rio. I had a beautiful childhood where I could play freely in the streets, take buses around the city and enjoy the lake with my family. I’ve moved quite a few times in and out of my country due to my father’s profession, an airplane pilot, which I think really helped me see Brazil from different perspectives and even understand better who I am when I’m outside it. As a cinematographer living in LA, going back to my origins through my work means finding the humanity in every aspect of my technical and creative choices. Brazil is famous for its spontaneous and happy people, which, in general, is true. And it’s one of the things I mostly miss when I’m away. We also have a sad story of exploitation and colonization that enslaved our people and people from African countries brought to Brazil, and impoverished our Nature. This past still has its consequences nowadays with politicians governing for the white and rich and racism is embedded in our blood due to the colonized education we’ve been getting since we were invaded in 1500. I’m saying all of this because as a white Brazilian woman, with European ancestry, it is my duty to always be reflecting on who I am and what it means to be me in the world I live in now, My work is a reflection of myself and my culture. I look for the diverse and colorful Brazil when I’m creating, I look for stories that haven’t yet been told to a vast audience to inspire me with my creativity, I look for our spontaneity and the imperfections that make life and humanity beautiful. There isn’t anything that inspires me more today than re-discovering the place where I come from.
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 think I take my work very seriously and it’s such a big and important part of my life that I think I mainly talked about it on the other questions. But still, I’m not the type of person that thinks work is the only important thing in life and a person’s life is dignified by their work only. I guess that what makes my work so important to me is that I have the chance to be inspired by the other moments in life I have, such as cooking with friends at home, or being in a cool party with good music and dancing with no worries whatsoever…I really bring my experience in life to my work and that’s what makes it unique in its way. Life isn’t easy. For most people, at least, is not. I was lucky that even though I chose a career that is still dominated by cisgender white men, so many brilliant and supporting women (mainly) have come before me and opened the paths for us, and it made my way through this career a little smoother. But there’s still prejudice and people on the top who don’t believe in our potential or are scared of trying something new, or scared of putting themselves as advocates for representativity. But I’m an optimist and I see the change. And what I’ve learnt is that I must be part of the change, otherwise, I’ll only be another step to overcome by people who are part of even more underrepresented social extracts than I am. I want to shoot big budget features, perfume and car commercials, and also low budget indies and documentaries that speak to my heart. And be considered to these projects in the same level as everyone else. I love what I do with my soul and I’m very grateful to everyone who crossed my way and supported me, and we told interesting and beautiful stories together. And I’m so happy to be in a city like Los Angeles that has been gradually opening space for me to do what I love the most.
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?
Well, due to my MFA commitment with AFI I honestly didn’t have much time in this past year to get to know the city that much. But I’ve discovered some very cool spots with my friends who have been living here for a while that I always come back to. So, if you’re new here, I’d definitely do a hike to the Observatory (not on these above 100ºF temperatures days, though!), have some ice cream from Van Leeuwen in Franklin Place and enjoy a sunset at Barnsdall Park. For a brunch, I’d definitely go to Beachwood Cafe or if you are more of a late lunch person, I’d go to the Farmer’s Market near The Grove or dinner at Etta in Culver City. For drinks and cocktails I definitely recommend Las Perlas in West Hollywood or Pinky’s in Los Feliz. I really like going dancing at No Vacancy and Good Times at Davey Waynes. For a great cultural experience, I suggest the exhibits at The Getty, LACMA, MOCA and Hammer Museum. And a walk on the Arts District in Downtown. I love the dumplings at Din Tai Fung in Glendale and watching afternoon sessions of very great movies at the Laemmle Theater, American Cinematheque and The New Beverly. The beaches I like the most to enjoy a sunny day are Hermosa and Manhattan Beach, and also El Matador Beach in Malibu.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh, a lot of people deserve this credit because I don’t believe in an individual success without the power of community to help individuals succeed. My parents, my utmost supporters. They’ve always believed in me and respected my decisions, even though I know sometimes it was hard for them to understand some of them. My brother for always bringing pertinent questionings that made me reflect and analyze better the path I was taking. Well, I’m still in the beginning of my path for sure, and having the support of my husband and fellow artist, is essential to keep going and finding strength in my abilities. Also to all the mentors and work colleagues that encouraged me to learn more, that provided me tools to be a better professional and who gave me, sometimes not the easiest, advices on my career and professional relationships. A special shoutout to the Collective of Brazilian Women and Transgender People of Cinematography (DAFB) which was created as a protest against a list that was released in 2016 of the rising starts of Brazilian Cinematography containing only white cisgender men from the industry. DAFB has been, since then, an important platform to support the voices that don’t have the same opportunities in the film industry and I, personally, met so many wonderful and supporting people from the Collective that I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for it.