An interview with Sabrina Percario | Open Mic | VMA20 BEST INSPIRATIONAL FILM | February Edition
Overcome the fears. This is the key element in the personal growth of every human being. And it is only by going beyond our fears that we discover our true self and our soul can release its innate talents.
‘Open Mic’, a film produced by Sabrina Percario, a multi award-winning actress and producer, known for Julia (2016), Be(lie)f (2019), and Mojave Shadows (2019), is about this very ‘going beyond’ our limitations.
Sabrina defines herself as an avid supporter of independent filmmaking. She describes herself as proud of her new film and it’s intrinsic message. She’s grateful to be a part of films like ‘Open Mic’ which ‘sings’ without rules and fears.
We were pleased to award Sabrina’s work during our February edition and to have interviewed her for you. Here’s her really interesting and inspiring story.
• Hi Sabrina, it’s great to have you here for this interview. Would you like to tell us about your love story for cinema and what drove you to become an actress, and then a producer?
I was born in São Paulo, Brazil and I have an Italian citizenship. I was a part of the BioMedicine industry and later Chinese Traditional Medicine for almost ten years until 2009 when I took an acting class to improve my skills speaking in public. I fell in love with the craft. I could express my feelings through my characters and also learn more about human behavior and myself. With time, I realized that being an actress and a producer has an invaluable impact in people's lives.
In 2014 I got a scholarship to do an MFA in Acting for Film at NYFA (New York Film Academy) in Los Angeles, CA. At that time my mom Olga Percario, bless her soul, told me, “Honey, I’m proud of you, I’ve seen it, you’re gonna make it.” That was our last conversation as she passed away shortly after. She believed in me before I believed in myself. In 2016, I did a film in tribute to her called “JULIA”. This movie opened doors for my career. I received several awards including Best Leading Actress at UIFF (United International Film Festival) and Best Film at LAIFFA (Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards). That year I also decided to become a producer to create my own opportunities. I want to inspire people as what we do is so powerful; we go into people’s homes, hearts, and with that there’s a responsibility. Percario Productions was born and I produced more than 20 projects including ‘Open Mic’, amongst many inspiring stories.
In 2018 Raja Deka, an actor/producer, known for Emmy award-winning Homeland, Black-ish, Speechless, Schooled, Arrested Development, and others, joined forces with me to inspire humanity; we launched Touch A Life Productions. Together we are inspiring the world. Already changing lives, we currently have multiple films and TV series in development. Our goal is to see all walks of life globally leaving the theaters after experiencing our films realizing there is a warrior within each one of them with specific purpose. We’re all about lifting humanity and planting seeds, and will without question benefit generations to come.
• Which of the two roles best expresses Sabrina’s talent?
I believe we don’t have only one passion in our lives. I’m fulfilled as an actress and as a producer as both give me joy. As an actress, I can explore the human psyche and share an everlasting feeling. As a producer, I have the privilege of bringing incredible talents together to collaborate and expand our collective evolution together. For me it’s always essential to hire individuals who genuinely care about the story.
I want to inspire people as what we do is so powerful; we go into people’s homes, hearts, and with that there’s a responsibility.
• We at the Vegas Movie Awards are always on the hunt for new talent, and after contacting you personally, we had the pleasure of seeing your short film deservedly win on our platform, as well as at other film festivals. Would you like to tell us about this successful moment for your short film, and what these victories mean to you?
‘Open Mic’ has a special place in my heart. David Austin Veal wrote it and he asked me to produce it with him. It was a pleasure to bring his story to life. I felt connected to the main character, who needed to learn to believe in herself first and overcome fear and insecurities. We’ve almost completed our festival run and so far we have accumulated 7 awards. Each award is a consequence of our hard work, dedication, and also gives others an array of hope. We could not be more grateful for all the recognition. • Let’s talk about ‘Open Mic’. We know it was written by David Austin Veal, who was a producer alongside you. What was it that motivated you to co-produce this story?
My motivation was the story and the friendship I have with David. He’s immensely talented as an actor and writer. I was immediately connected and identified with the main character. I thought it was a good opportunity to inspire others and remind them to believe in themselves. We learned a lot from each other. Trust is the key for a good production, and I’m happy that David trusted me to bring the best cast and crew for the story.
• How did this production, which consists of mostly international filmmakers like David and director Jaime Torres, come about?
Most of the cast and crew knew each other from previous work. We became a family. I worked with Jaime Torres in others projects such as, ‘Mojave Shadows’, ‘Anguish’, and ‘Tell’.
• What aspects of ‘Open Mic’ do you carry in your professional relationships? Does it please you more when others bring out the very best in you, or do you find it more satisfying to let other people’s talents evolve?
As a producer I think it’s important to bring together a crew that not only is talented, but has a mutual respect and believes in the project. One of the reasons I like to be a producer, is we’re the ones bringing people together. It’s an exchange, we’re constantly learning from each other. It’s impossible to know everything, so when someone’s talent evolves, I’ll also learn and naturally my very best will come out.
• How many of us have been through auditions, selections, contests, and at the end of them we felt the unpleasant sensation of not being good enough; often our talent is blocked by the fear of a failure. ‘Open Mic’ is an invitation to believe in yourself and your skills, and when that strength is lacking, it highlights just how crucial support from others is. Have you, Sabrina, ever had a moment like this? And if so, who or what helped you through it?
It’s natural to feel nervous in front of the camera, when you’re auditioning, or pitching a project. Thank God for friends, they are the family I choose. They remind you to be you. There is space for everyone in this industry, but you must believe and remind yourself that the only person who can say NO to you is yourself. If you love what you do and know WHY you want to do it, nobody can stop you. One of my best friends, his parent’s once said to him: “There’s only one of you in this world.” He reminded me of this for myself and if I believe, am authentically myself, and connected to my purpose, I’ll overcome any situation. Because at this point, I’m no longer looking for people’s approval, but more for an opportunity to share my story to inspire someone and possibly bring awareness.
If one’s art comes from the right intention, it will have an impact far and beyond what we will see.
• Given the creative impasse resulting from the current pandemic around the world, what do you feel you can recommend to young artists who find themselves in an artistic deadlock?
Always try to be positive. I learned from my parents that if I have a problem or something challenges me, focus on the solution. Stop for a moment, do a self reflection about things you need to improve on or learn, and keep moving forward. In this day and age thanks to technology, we still have the chance to impact others and inspire even if we are in our homes. Keep in mind no perfect creation exists. If one’s art comes from the right intention, it will have an impact far and beyond what we will see. Like I said before, our medium is very powerful as we go into people’s homes, so with that in mind, we have a big responsibility to the content we’re sharing on social media. Create your voice, connect with your purpose, and together we will make a difference.
• One last but no less important question: where can our fans find more information about ‘Open Mic’ and your future projects?
• Thank you for this interview, Sabrina, and for being part of the Vegas Movie Awards with your short film. We wish you all the best in your professional, personal, and musical growth!
Thank you so much Vegas Movie Awards, our team is very grateful for this experience with you, the achievement, and also for allowing us to share a little bit of our work and mission. Keep doing what you’re doing, creating a space for artists to showcase and express themselves.