We had the good fortune of connecting with Rafael Thomaseto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rafael, how does your business help the community?
Driven Equation is an international production company that was founded to become the vessel of expression for selected work from Helena Sardinha and me.
As young professionals, Latinxs, Queer-identifying, and advocates of gender equality, we have as our greatest mission the expansion of inclusion and representation in media. Since 2018, Driven Equation was formed from our previous working years, through the realization of sharing not only the same ideas but also the same values, approach to creation and synchronicities of life that brought us together.
The company curates a refined selection of stories that highlight social issues and marginalized themes — aiming to foster dialogue and awareness about contemporary matters. Utilizing the mediums of narrative, documentary, music and branded content, we believe real innovation comes from understanding and respecting different backgrounds, turning into captivating storytelling, to inspire others and raise awareness for social responsibility.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was raised in a conservative country, I have experienced discrimination most of my life, which eventually pushed me to leave my home in search of freedom. This was the start of my acceptance of becoming the artist and person I am today. I had to deconstruct the patriarchal conventions and allow myself to be proud of my true self. I still believe in the need for more gay content, in the hopes of showing young impressionable audiences, as well as struggling adults, that queer love and stories exist outside of religious oppression and sexual confusion. There’s still a lot of resistance to stereotypes and clichéd representations on how those stories are told. It’s about time we break free! I strongly state that I still have not felt represented in the media nor have I seen enough about the complexity of a romantic relationship between gay men.
With the onslew of queer movements, art, and representation, one might think that the job is done, the doors have been cracked open, that we’re fully there; sadly, we are not. Our battles are human rights battles and nothing will change until artists use their art to hold a mirror in the face of society. Last year, the world marked 30 years since “homosexuality” was declassified as a disease. However, during Carnival in Brazil in that same year, I was attacked by two straight men for kissing my ex-boyfriend in public; Carnival prides itself on being incredibly LGBTQIA+ friendly and open-minded, which begs me to wonder what goes on in other oppressive countries? It’s still illegal to be LGBT+ in 70 countries and given the death penalty in 12 territories.
Leaving a small town at a young age, moving countries, learning other languages, working hard to prove to others that as an immigrant I could do it. I had to break many walls to be where I am today, personally and professionally. And for me, it’s almost impossible to separate those two things. My motto is my passion. Some people out there would say it’s the Latino intensity, perhaps, it is and I love it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love living in Los Angeles. I love the fact that in one city you find many cities. Small towns that feel like a suburb in the middle of a diverse concrete jungle connected through freeways. In the last 7 years I have been here, the past three I have been living in an apartment in Los Feliz. My favorite area. When good friends come to visit, I like to show them what my lifestyle is. I take them to hikes at Griffth Park, to the farmers market in Atwater Village, for my favorite museum in Downtown LA called Hauser & Wirth, for my favorite sunset over at Point Dume in Malibu, if there’s time for a day trip I like to drive to Ojai or Big Bear. At night, I would make a reservation at the traditional Italian restaurant “La Pergoletta”, walk down to have a drink at Bar Stella in Silverlake then finish the evening on the dance floor at Akbar.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout goes to all artists I currently work with. I feel grateful and constantly inspired by them. I built a community of passionate, talented and free spirit individuals with whom I can relate not only professionally, but also personally. Since most of us are immigrants, which make things even further away from any comfort zone, we seek in each other the freedom, love, in a family generating a safe space to unravel the best selves. For me, creation is a consequence of inspiration. I feel inspired surrounded by people with different backgrounds, cultures, unique accents, but all holding similar values. My mission is to use my knowledge translating their power as storytellers as beautiful art to fight for change. Hollywood is still a segregated industry, Los Angeles is the capital of cinema but demand and offer are in constant war. To make a movie, a filmmaker needs an army of artists, and I have found mine.
1- Behind the scenes during a shoot in Sitka, Alaska 2- Behind the scenes during a music video shoot in Los Angeles. 3- Rafael Thomaseto and Gabriela Ortega at the premiere of their short film “Huella” during the Tribeca Film Festival 2o21. 4- Producers Rafael Thomaseto and Helena Sardinha.