Victoria and I met working on her film about women led healthcare in Costa Rica this summer, where we were able to share the stories and struggles of young mothers and their children as they explore the ideas of feminism and reproductive rights. We are both interested in illuminating the complexities in stories of resilience and change in Latin America. I took this photo of her while we spent time with Doña Miriam, the 96 year old midwife who has delivered over 2,000 babies. Gerard, a boy who stole flowers on her street became our camera assistant for the day and ended up opening the door for Victoria as we left. Victoria is great at finding admirers everywhere she goes. But in all seriousness, I’ve never worked with someone who connects to our characters so quickly, making people feel comfortable enough to share personal memories by the time I balance the tripod.
Victoria, how do you decide what stories to tell?
“I’m interested in putting ordinary stories into focus, because there’s always something extraordinary there that pushes through boundaries. At home I’ve worked through a community journalism model, and I’m applying that now as I spend more time reporting from other places. With the way social tensions are rising globally, especially in the global South, it’s important to create media that pushes against common narratives, which are usually riddled with tropes and victimizing stereotypes. Sharing another person’s experience through their voice is the most truthful way to tell a story (and I’m learning how to do that more with video). Then it’s our job to connect to larger issues, exposing accountability, for example, to get to the “why” of something. If we publish more work through an honest perspective and in collaboration with subjects on their terms, it will have a greater impact on the way we all understand each other.”
– Monica Wise