We had the good fortune of connecting with Maju Cancella and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maju, what inspires you?
Emotions, in any shape or form, are my primary source of inspiration. As a writer and filmmaker, I have new ideas and concepts permeating my mind all the time, and they’re always triggered by a feeling, be it exhilaration, melancholy, fear, and so on. Writing is how I express and unscramble my feelings. In my creative process, it’s not uncommon for a script or a story idea to originate in the form of a standalone scene revolving around an emotion, to then evolve into a complete narrative. And I have always loved that about my creativity! I appreciate being introspective, it makes me awake, and my art comes from this abundant life within.
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’m a Latinx Writer, Director, and Producer, living in LA and creating content for both the American and the Brazilian markets. Throughout my career, I had the opportunity to get involved in many different aspects of filmmaking. I started my professional journey as a Video Editor, I then worked many years as a Sports Marketing Executive, managing the entire process of developing video and digital content for one of Brazil’s leading soccer clubs, Botafogo FR. This overview of the business allowed me to understand it and to be brave enough to pursue my true passion. In 2014, I made one of the most challenging decisions of my life when I decided to move away from a familiar industry to go explore a new marketplace in a different country. And I don’t regret it a single bit. It hasn’t been easy navigating Hollywood; as a foreigner, there are so many obstacles to overcome outside the already complicated path to breaking into a saturated market. But every new project, latest accomplishment, and challenging opportunity renews my energy and pushes me forward. Last month, a Brazilian animated short film I wrote and directed called “Xícara de Café (“Coffee Cup”) was released and it went viral. It was an homage to Covid-19 victims in Brazil, and I received messages from people across the country who were touched and appreciative of my work. That is very rewarding! And it takes me back to one of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far, which is that perseverance is the key to success. Doors will always seem closed, but if you try hard enough and don’t give up, you’ll find your way in.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Los Angeles is a multi-faceted city, every Angelino will have their version of a perfect day. I absolutely love museums, and every time I have people visiting, I take them to a few of my favorites: Getty Center, LACMA, Hammer, and I recently discovered the USC Pacific Asia. The morning sun is excellent for outdoor activities, like going to the beach (El Matador and Malibu Surfrider are musts) and visiting the good ol’ Runyon Canyon – which I know it’s a bit of a clichê, but I appreciate the hike and the view every single time! As far as food goes, I’d start the day with a breakfast burrito from Joan’s on Third, follow up with a light salad or sandwich at Urth Café, and end the culinary extravaganza by trying savory ramen or fried rice from the Asian café, Chibiscus. Coffee is fuel to writers, and I’m a huge consumer, so places like Marie et Cie, in Studio City, Bourgeois Pig, in Hollywood, and Trails Cafe, by the Griffith Park, in Los Feliz, are always on my to-do list. Last, but not at all least, the LA nightlife! I’m not very big on the whole Hollywood glamourous scene, so my favorite spots are lower-key retro/rustic-chic bars like Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, Tenants of the Trees, and Catcher in the Rye.
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?
Storytellers share stories professionally and personally, so I find it is crucial to be surrounded by people who listen to your ideas and encourage you to keep making them better. For me, these patient, loving, and supportive people are my family (shoutout to Vitor, Vicente, Teca, Rogério), my friends – especially those at the UnfairFacts Writing Group, who provide me with a safety net to explore new ideas and grow as a writer, and the many talented artists I have the opportunity to collaborate with, like the fantastic writer & director Marcelo Galvão, with whom I recently worked on his upcoming feature film, “Fourth Grade.”
Other: Xícara de Café (Coffee Cup: https://youtu.be/ul2rxIqblTs “White and Colors” trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl9c7u16QoE