The Belfast Beacon

Mafe Soria Wins 48 Hour Film Project

Gabriel Lindo and Sydney Ace

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     Many people in the community may remember one of our 2015 graduates, Mafe Soria, a foreign exchange student from Bolivia.  Mafe was an exchange student hosted by Randa and Jeff Harrington. Mafe recently won some awards for a short film she produced. The film can be seen here.  While attending Belfast, Mafe was involved in our production of Sherlock Holmes, a challenge as she was just learning English, and this was only small part of her journey as an actress and now director.  We conducted an interview with her via Facebook.

How would you describe your experience in Belfast?  What are some of your best memories?
     It was a wonderful year, although at first I was scared because I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know the language very well. Thankfully, over time, I fell more in love with the place and the people, especially my family. School was another adventure, because although I knew many things, I also learned new things that helped me diversify my point of view. This was a truly unforgettable experience full of wonderful people. Looking back, my time there felt like a dream because it went by so fast.
     I have so many beautiful memories and trying to share them all is going to be hard so I’m just going to write some of the many memories that are forever in my heart.
When I first arrived in Belfast, my sister Megan Harrington was very kind to me. She always stayed by my side and every time we got home from school she explained everything to me many times until I understood so I could finally do my homework.
     The trips I made with my mom (Randa) were very nice. I remember the time we went to the cinema together and we talked and laughed over several things. I just loved her for always smiling and being kind to me. I really have a lot of confidence and I feel comfortable when I’m with her and appreciate everything she did for me.
     Something funny that I recall was when my dad used to tell jokes and I never understood them so they always had to explain the whole joke again to me and of course it was not funny anymore, but at least I laughed later.
The many beautiful times that I spent with my friends were also memorable. I still talk to some of them. Memories like this, these small details are what I remember the most and make me value my family and friends very much.

What have you been doing since you’ve been here?
     Since I graduated from Belfast (2015) I returned to my country to graduate there too. In 2016, I started a career at UPB (private university of Bolivia). The career is corporate communication ( I have two more years to finally become a professional) and I also graduated from HAPA (Hollywood Academy of Performing Arts) which lasted two years. Due to my inclination for stage art, I began to perform in plays and participate in short films only in front of the camera. Until I realized that I really loved doing both: directing and acting, being in front of and behind the camera.

You recently won an award.  What was it for?
     I won two awards recently. The most recent was this past weekend. However, the first prize I won was because I decided to enter a contest called the 48 Hour Film Project, which is an international contest involving more than 130 cities around the world, and it was there that I proposed to all my friends that are passionate for the cinema that we should create a team (Light Box) to make a short film in just 48 hours. We prepared for two months, as it is not easy to make a script, shoot, and edit in such a short time. The contest has specific rules and everything starts from the draw of the genre. After 48 hours of pressure and mixed feelings, we managed to deliver our short film. A week after the premiere, they announced the winner. We were all very nervous and didn’t think we would win, because we competed with the film school and other important producers. However, at the awards ceremony, we won awards for “Better Use of the Character,” “Best Actor,”  “Better use of the Phrase,” “Best Chosen by the Public,” and the most important award, “Best Film.” At that moment, I went into shock and realized that now I was going to have to represent my city and country (Bolivia) for the film festival, Filmapalooza 2018, that will take place in Paris. I also realized that my film was in competition with all the other films from all around the world. I’m hoping to win some other award because the best film in that festival will go to Cannes. Any way, being apart of this festival is something very important to me.
I received another award from the film festival called: “Diablo de Oro (Golden Devil) International Festival.” I prepared another short film all by myself and it was recognized. I was recognized as the youngest filmmaker in Bolivia, this was very exciting and it made me so happy.

What was the experience of directing like?  How did you learn what you know about film/ acting/ directing?  
     It was a challenge for me because I never did something like that and I had to learn a lot so we could make the film. I had to prepare myself by reading a lot and taking some short classes about directing and everything that Involves to make a film, and to be honest, the most difficult thing was to handle the lighting. It was a very nice experience because it is not the same to work alone as with a team. It was a great experience!
Everything that I know now was part of a process. Since I was young, I liked everything that involves acting and filming, mainly acting. I was in several acting courses and I was in theater academies to learn more techniques, and I read a lot: for example, Stanislavski and many other people who dabbled in this artistic world. My passion behind the camera is recent and it’s a completely different world, I love learning how to use all the techniques and camera movements as well as the final part of the editing.
     I basically learned everything in the different courses that I took in college and reading on my own.

What are your future plans?  
     Well, what I want to do is continue to produce short films and in the future in order to show my talent not only behind the scenes but also in acting. I want to be recognized in the world and work with great artists.

What else would you like to tell us about?  
     I’m not working hard just for myself because what I really want since many years ago is to help all the animals that live in the streets and suffer because of human indifference.
That’s what really hurts me and I would love to solve it, it sounds impossible sometimes, but I need to do something so the society stops being so inhumane.

     Thanks to Mafe for sharing and we at BCS are proud to hear of her hard work and success!

 

 

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