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The Work That Made Me: Barbara Anastacio

Frenzy's Barbara Anastacio takes a look back to some her favourite and least favourite work

The Work That Made Me: Barbara Anastacio

Barbara Anastacio is a filmmaker whose gripping and intimate work has found worldwide acclaim. Portuguese native based in New York, her work as a filmmaker includes clients such as Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Valentino, Shiseido, and Conde Nast International, among others. Barbara is represented by Frenzy Paris and discusses her favourite projects and work that she'd rather forget. 


The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…  

Definitely Prodigy x Smack My Bitch Up for obvious reasons. I love strong concept simple execution music videos and this one has it all. It felt very transgressive just watching it and the realisation that it was a woman at the end was pretty mind blowing for my very young and impressionable self.  

 

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

When it first started, NOWNESS was very important to me as an online platform showcasing groundbreaking video work. As an online channel it filled a gap for upcoming filmmakers like me who didn’t necessarily fit in the traditional market, allowing us the space and confidence to experiment with the medium.  

 

The creative work (film/album/game/ad/album/book/poem etc) that I keep revisiting…

I don’t revisit a lot of stuff as I’m always trying to expand my knowledge of music, literature, films and art. But looking at the work of Nouvelle Vague masters such as Eric Rohmer, Agnes Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, Truffaut, Alain Resnais is always refreshing and a great reminder that the most groundbreaking work can be achieved with simple ideas, a group of friends/collaborators and a small budget. Basically nothing should stop you from making the film you want. 

 

My first professional project…

I had just moved to NYC and was quite inspired by Anthology Film Archives and the work of avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas. I was commissioned by Dossier Journal to make a short profile film about him and received an invitation to meet him at his home. I was very inexperienced and quite nervous. I came in all serious with my DLSR camera and pre-prepared questions but instead I was surprised with 10 other guests and Jonas Mekas cooking a big supper for everyone. Just like that he taught me a big lesson in filmmaking - learn to work with chance. I didn’t get to make the video I wanted but I still had to make something out of this situation. This Jonas A La Carte video was the result.

 

 

The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…   

I think ultimately all work experiences are worthwhile and you can only learn filmmaking from failure. So I can’t really name one. 

 

The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that still makes me jealous…

I see others' works as an inspiration, not as a form of jealousy.. There’s a lot of good and bad working directors out there but both give me the creative drive to keep doing my work.  

 

The creative project that changed my career…

My Place series was the very first project I worked on for NOWNESS. When I first started it, I was working as a one-woman band - filming it, directing and editing it -  which was a great learning experience. When you have constraints, you have to be resourceful and end up creating something raw and intimate. It was quite well received and it changed my career in the sense that it instilled a trust in myself and my vision as a director and the realisation that I could do that as a career. 

 

The work that I’m proudest of…

The one I’m yet to make...But I’m quite proud of the Gucci x Performers episode I got to write and direct and that’s currently being shown at the Walker Arts Center for the Design For Different Futures exhibition  

 

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

There’s always a cringy feeling when you look at work you’ve done in the past. Mostly because they remind you how much you’ve learned and evolved as a person and a filmmaker. But wouldn’t show it here if it really made me cringe. 

 

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

During lockdown I finally found the time to start writing my first feature film and this has been the most exciting (and daunting!) project for me recently. I got very used to doing commissioned work and writing around those constraints. But to create something out of nothing for yourself is very liberating.  

 

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