The University of Texas at Austin
  • Looking for her director's voice

    By Samantha Stiles
    Published: April 4, 2011
    Ivete Lucas, M.F.A. candidate, behind the scenes of her film "La Lupita."Photo: David Keenan

    Ivete Lucas knew that to become a better film director, she needed some direction herself.

    “I wanted to find my own voice as a director,” she said. “And I knew that to do that I needed to make several more films. But I also wanted to have guidance, so I started looking for a master’s degree.”

    In 2008 Lucas entered the Department of Radio-Television-Film‘s Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) program as an aspiring Mexican filmmaker and audiovisual artist.

    “At first I was reluctant to come to the United States because I just didn’t want to do Hollywood movies, and I felt like New York puts you in a box, sort of,” Lucas said. “There’s so much competition, and people think they have to do certain things to get ahead. I wanted to be free, basically.”

    Lucas said she felt like Austin and The University of Texas at Austin offered her exactly what she was looking for: an independent and supportive film scene with easy access to Spanish-speaking actors so she could create films that reflect her Latin American culture.

    According to the Radio-Television-Film Department, about 25 percent of the graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in the film program are Hispanic or Latino. They come from Texas, California and Florida as well as Spanish-speaking countries, including Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.

    Lucas was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. She grew up speaking Portuguese, Spanish and English.

    “I grew up in between cultures, I guess,” she said. “I used to write, but when I discovered photography and video I was able to have a language that any culture could understand. And that was really important to me.”

    How she got into filmmaking

    After completing her undergraduate degree, Lucas got a job as a script supervisor for a feature film in Mexico, and an art collective she participated in college wrote a screenplay together.

    “We applied for this big grant from the Mexican Film Institute, and we miraculously got the grant. We were all 21, 22 maybe. We got $50,000 to make a short film, and then we got distribution.”

    The film was screened throughout Mexico and shortlisted for the Mexican Academy Awards.

    Among other side projects, Lucas has made two films as a master’s candidate: “Mexican Fried Chicken,” a short documentary about a teenage boy from Mexico coming of age in America; and “La Lupita,” a love story that takes place at an Austin flea market.

    A scene from 'La Lupita'
    A scene from “La Lupita” directed by Ivete Lucas. Photo: Matthew Dayton

    To the U.S. and back

    Monterrey, Mexico is only an eight-hour drive from Austin. That means Lucas is able to easily visit her family. It also keeps her connected to her culture and continues to influence the film projects she takes on.

    “As Latinos I think we do need a voice,” Lucas said. “I know there are really good films coming out of Latin America, but there aren’t many. It’s important that people who want to have a voice are able to.”

    She said that a lot of her inspiration comes from traveling and meeting people, and her thesis film is a prime example. It’s about a religious procession in Mexico and a fictional immaculate conception. She saw a real procession and was moved by the devoted people who participated in it.

    Ivete Lucas Photo: Otis Ike

    “I sort of wanted to make a story about a miracle, especially at a time like right now,” she said. “In Mexico it’s really hard because of the drug war … a year ago it got really crazy and nasty, violent and sad. And I wanted to make a story that wasn’t sad. So I wanted a miracle, because I feel like we need a miracle.”

    She’s also simultaneously working on another documentary about the town of Ivanhoe, Va., which is struggling to hold itself together after the mining industry left and abandoned the crumbling town and its residents.

    Looking forward

    Lucas is incredibly driven, equipped with a keen sense of organization and dedication to her work. But she doesn’t really consider it work, because she said she’s doing what she loves and learning from her filmmaker peers and friends. She said she’s on track to graduate in 2012.

    “Sometimes it’s stressful but we get through it because we have such a passion for what we do,” she said about herself and the other RTF students. “Sometimes you don’t have a lot of money because filmmaking is really expensive. I don’t give up because I think I have something really important to say. And I think that’s why I’m here in this world.”

    Read more about the Latino and Latina filmmakers at The University of Texas at Austin and the university’s film program:

    Ivete Lucas is a fellow of the Mexican Fund for the Culture and the Arts (FONCA).

    • Quote 2
      Ivete said on Sept. 21, 2012 at 4:15 p.m.
      Thank you everybody for your comments and support. I'm finally launching my thesis film. Here's a link to our Kickstarter campaign: I promise not to disappoint!
    • Quote 2
      Carson said on March 21, 2012 at 8:29 p.m.
      What an amazing talent, can't wait to see what comes from her in the future.
    • Quote 2
      carlos santos said on Jan. 9, 2012 at 10:56 p.m.
      ivete lucas muchas felicidades, akabo de ver tu corto LA LUPITA, talvez no te acuerdes de mi soy carlos santos y te audicione para el role de da mucho gusto t mando un fuerte abrazo desde mission tx
    • Quote 2
      carlos santos said on Jan. 9, 2012 at 10:50 p.m.
      que tal buen dia ivete,despues de un largo tiempo por fin vi tu cortometraje LA LUPITA, soy carlos santos de mission texas y te hice audicion para el role de CHUCHO,talves no te acuerdes de mi,por que ya tiene tiempo, me da un gusto enorme que ya vi tus otros TRABAJOS y me gustaron mucho. te mando un fuerte abrazo
    • Quote 2
      Vestidos de 15 años said on Sept. 6, 2011 at 4:53 p.m.
      You are an example of how you can get to hollywood without the need to do those certain things other women do to or are willing to do just to get to the big screen. Felicitaciones!!!! Ivette, eres toda un orgullo Mexico-latino!
    • Quote 2
      Erin P said on May 31, 2011 at 9:48 a.m.
      felicidadez ivet te deso lo mejor,yo no te conosco pero todavia estoy alegre de que algen de mi raza lo logrado.good job have a great life
    • Quote 2
      Berta Guerra said on April 23, 2011 at 12:05 a.m.
      Ivette, Muchísimas felicidades por este logro primita, de verdad que te ves super contenta y realizada. Sigue tus sueños como lo has hecho hasta ahora que vas a llegar muy lejos. Besos!!
    • Quote 2
      Graciela said on April 12, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.
      Ivette, que orgullo!!! felicidades prima!, un abrazo!!!bss, gracias por compartirlo!
    • Quote 2
      Brenda said on April 12, 2011 at 9:56 a.m.
      Ivete!! Felicidades, te deseo lo mejor en tu carrera... Exelente articulo... Que orgullo prima...Bss Brenda
    • Quote 2
      Graciela Guerra said on April 11, 2011 at 11:35 p.m.
      Felicitaciones de todos los que te quieren en MEXICO......Fam. MALDONADO BYE
    • Quote 2
      Graciela Guerra said on April 11, 2011 at 11:33 p.m.
      Hola Ivete, felicidades, nos sentimos muy orgullosos de ti. Sabemos que vas a llegar muy lejos con todo lo que estas logrando, se que estas en lo que te gusta y la dedicacion y tabajo es lo que te trera el exito. Saludos a Patrick, y en horabuena. Tia GA
    • Quote 2
      Lenid said on April 10, 2011 at 10:19 a.m.
      So proud of you!!!!!!! Excellence all over =)
    • Quote 2
      Rosie Young said on April 9, 2011 at 9:34 a.m.
      Ivete Lucas approached us with the idea of filming her short film at our Flea Market. I was amazed how professional her and all her crew were with the filming. We thoroughly enjoyed having them out here! Good Luck, Ivete with you're future, I really see you going places!
    • Quote 2
      Cecilia said on April 9, 2011 at 1:33 a.m.
      Ivete...WOW!!! Te admiro! Vas a llegar super super lejos. Muy buen artículo! xoxo Ceso
    • Quote 2
      Fran Lamb said on April 7, 2011 at 11:39 p.m.
      Ivete...Great job! We are so proud of you. This seems to suit your talents to a "T" to speak. Keep up the good work! Charles and Fran
    • Quote 2
      Marli, Pedro, Lala, Tata e Valim said on April 6, 2011 at 8:52 p.m.
      Ivete Raquel, lemos a sua matéria, muito legal,gostamos muito. Parabéns e lute muito pelos seus ideais. Estamos com saudades. Bjos e abraços Marli, Pedro, Lala, Tata e Valim
    • Quote 2
      Susanna said on April 6, 2011 at 4:49 p.m.
      Ivete IS incredibly driven and passionate about her work. I fully expect her films to be widely distributed and critically acclaimed.
    • Quote 2
      Bill and Phyl said on April 6, 2011 at 1:09 p.m.
      Congratulations! We read the account with great interest and are pleased with your success. Keep up the good work.
    • Quote 2
      Katie G said on April 6, 2011 at 10:38 a.m.
      Love it! So smart!
    • Quote 2
      UT homepage features Latino filmmakers in the Dept of RTF | Latino Media Studies Update said on April 6, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.
      [...] week’s UT homepage feature is about Latino filmmakers in the Dept of RTF. A companion piece, on MFA candidate Ivete Lucas, is on the Know website. Links are included below. The freshest in culture. Featured on [...]
    • Quote 2
      Paty said on April 5, 2011 at 1:09 p.m.
      thats my cousin..... blessings
    • Quote 2
      Bernardo Gonzalez said on April 5, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.
      Fresh, Intelligent and amazingly talented. Wow!!!
    • Quote 2
      Brazil Futbol | Looking for her director’s voice – University of Texas at Austin News said on April 5, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
      [...] Read this article: Looking for her director’s voice – University of Texas at Austin News [...]
    • Quote 2
      Eric Guerra said on April 4, 2011 at 11:35 p.m.
      This is a wonderful way to get the latino voice to America. We are very proud to have people like that in our culture and our family! Congratulations for all this corrageous sister who's seeking her voice and showing it to the world. We have great expectations...
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