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Simone Barros

Still from "Freedom Runners What Remains"
Q. Briefly describe your work.

A. Most recently the film work I’ve created traverses the space between experimental film and documentary film. Much the way dreams pull the non-fiction of our day, (the things we did, the people we dealt with, the problems we faced) of our waking life down into the unconscious whirlpool twisting and turning over these aspects that stress and frighten us, perplex and delight us, my films convey non-fiction events and people in swirling, dreamlike films seeking the epiphanies and understanding that the unconscious, sleeping mind gives to the conscious, waking mind.

Q. How were you introduced to your craft?

A. I was introduced to making films in high school through my literature classes taught by Mr. Scirocco and the dearly departed Ms. Klister. In drama classes and as a member of the high school drama troupe, Ms. Spark drilled the principles of acting into my very bones. Ms. Spark also taught dramaturgy and the visual expression of staging and allowed student directors to play out our creative and analytical impulses. When I asked to create two short films, she and Mr. Restrepo, a religion teacher, arranged the space and time for me to create, make mistakes and learn and to do so again and again.

Later, as a rising junior at New York University’s Tisch School of the Art, I studied abroad in Prague where my understanding of film as a singular craft apart from literature or theatre more deeply challenged my craft and approach to filmmaking.

Q. Do you have any long-standing influences?

A. Artists and artwork who have influenced me have changed throughout my life, as do my favorite foods from nutty bars to arugula, cranberry, goat cheese salad, from C. S. Lewis to Mikhail Bulgakov, from Darnell Martin to Maya Deren but there are artists who remain sources of inspiration and guidance. Bjork, Charlie Kaufman and Toni Morrison created work that tapped into my younger proclivities toward fairy tales, mystical lands and creatures and as I’ve grown up, I’m continually inspired by the development and evolution of their work to excavate and challenge current assumptions through magic realism and phantasmagoria.

Q. Describe your idea of artistic success.

A. Artistic success is simply staking out regular time to practice your craft and make work. It is not easy with the monetary demands of most of our lives. Thus, we often correlate artistic success with monetary success, in an effort to buy more time to practice our craft. I recently read that William Falkner wrote As I Lay Dying between midnight and 4 am over the course of six weeks while working at a power plant. Making work out of a regular practice is the success. I’ve also seen artists find mentors to challenge and hone their craft and a community within to share their work and see the work of others in simple, affordable and accessible spaces too, by just focusing on their regular practice. This is a success, I’m continually striving to reach and continually falling short and continually striving to reach, again and again.

Q. What is your process for generating new ideas?

A. I once kept a dream journal. I now keep a video journal enabled by my camera phone. I meditate. I’ll return to keeping a dream journal.

Q. How do you feel your work affects your audience? (and/or) How do you
want your work to affect your audience?

A. As I continue to strive toward a community to share my work, the few times, I’ve engaged with an audience, I’ve been told “you really made me think” and “what a powerfully film.” I’m screening a short film that I made for Restore Cleveland Hope on Sunday, August 5th at an event honoring Joan Southgate and I hope the audience is affected by my cinematic portrait of Joan Southgate by seeing something of the light of the person they each know her to be, shining through my video projection of her. This is my most humble hope with all my work, that audiences recognize the dream of my film as authentic to life and gain a greater and deeper understanding of this temporary and fleeting experience called life.