Bernardo is one cool guy who gets the opportunity to write and produce pieces for Vice that are equal parts intelligent, bizarre, and entertaining. Having long lived and worked in NYC, he has just moved back to DF to manage Vice Latin America. This last year he worked on a documentary about the British-Kenyan photographer James Mollison shot while he was making some portraits at the Dadaab refugee camp in the border between Kenya and Somalia. He also shot two Brazilian pieces: one is about deforestation in the Amazon and the murder of two activists (Ze Claudio Ribeiro and Maria do Spirito Santo) and the other one is about Tecnobrega (the sound systems of the Amazon). In 2004, he won numerous awards for the short film “The Perfect Day” and worked with Michael Moore on Farheinheit 9/11 as well as on Slacker Uprising in 2007. He continues to cover heavy metal bands across the world and the politically sublime. This year he’s focused on making films in and about Mexico.
Place of Birth: Mexico City
Parents Place of Birth: My father was born in Queretaro and my mother in Cotija, Michoacan
Occupation/ Aspiration: Documentary Filmmaker (currently working at Vice)
How do you help make Mexico City a better place to live?
I don’t know if I necessarily help make Mexico City a better place to live. I try to make documentaries or write articles about Mexico (not only Mexico City) whenever I can to show people around the world things that are happening there, or to tell the stories about people that I find interesting. They are not always necessarily positive, but I hope that at least they are compelling and meaningful in some way. For example, a couple of years ago I made a documentary about the Mexican crime tabloid Alarma! and the crime photographers that work during the night shift in Mexico City. Some people might think that a film like that hurts the reputation of the city and makes it look more dangerous than it is. I think the stories of these people are fascinating and I think it’s worth making a film about them. Some people from Mexico got all angry and embarrassed when we made the documentary about the Pointy Boots from Matehuala. I think it’s amazing that things like that exist in Mexico!
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I studied Media and Communications at the Tec de Monterrey in Queretaro and then I studied a Masters in Film at City College in New York on a Fulbright Scholarship.
What was your first source of inspiration in your professional career?
I love the work of Spike Jonze, Michele Gondry, Erroll Morris, Werner Herzog, Michael Winterbottom and many other filmmakers.
List a meaningful object or talisman you carry with you? If you don’t have one what would it be?
I’m not very superstitious, but recently I bought two statues of the Santos Malandros in Venezuela and I like them a lot. They are similar to the Santa Muerte or Malverde, but these guys have baggy pants, sun glasses, Nike hats and guns. The ones I have are Tomasito and Malandro Ismael.
What is your drink of choice?
. Name three songs you are listening to right now.
Sonidero Compay by Toy Selectah, Ritmo de Amor by Los Macuanos and David Comes to Life, the new Fucked Up album. Name your favorite book. I really liked Los Detectives Salvajes by Bolaño. I’ve been reading Los Periodistas by Vicente Leñero recently and I’m really into it too.
Name a Mexican you admire.
What is the first thing you do when you arrive in DF.
Go for tacos al Pastor at El Tizoncito in Condesa or somewhere else to eat Aguachiles.
Describe difference/similarities from life in NY/DF i.e. Americanisms, Mexican-isms.
To me, one of the main differences has to do with transportation. In NY people walk or take the subway or bike. In Mexico City either you stay in one neighborhood or you drive and get stuck in traffic for hours.