Meet the Fellows: Monica Wise

Monica came to Costa Rica in May to be a part of my team for The Last Partera, a documentary about the midwifery tradition, its roots in feminism, and its future. I like to play this game: “six degrees of Monica Wise.” At every documentary film festival I go to, I meet at least two people who know her. When she and I finally met in Costa Rica, we developed an immediate sisterly bond–mainly because we’re both obsessed with cheesy reggaeton. I love Monica’s work, which focuses on sharing intimate stories of feminist resistance that span borders. Monica is also naturally hilarious and usually oblivious as to why. I cry when I’m around her.

For this post I asked her : Why have you chosen to work with video as your medium to tell/share stories? :

“It’s the easiest way to let a person tell their own story. And you can do it through an artistic one-hour documentary or through a one-minute shareable video to update people on an event happening real-time, like the recent earthquake in Mexico. It’s the most versatile medium. All media can be biased, but with video you can be more hands off in showing how someone lives, expressing through their body language.

I’m an over communicative person, but behind the camera I’m able to open my eyes, be quiet, and observe a situation. It’s a thrill to be behind the camera and to see how people open up. One of the filmmakers I look up to is Kristen Johnson, and I remember her talking about filming French philosopher Jacques Derrida. When she was quiet enough it made him trust her more. That process of being intimate behind the lens is unique.”

– Victoria Bouloubasis