By Jeff Monroe
Producer Katy Lopes has enjoyed significant professional success thanks to an extraordinary methodology, one that mixes her precisely ordered grasp on big picture logistics with a soulful, artistic need to explore and express the depth and nuance of the oft troubled human condition.
It’s a knock out combination which lends each of her productions a distinctive flair and appeal, and her current project, the engrossing film Inner Self perfectly crystalizes the Brazilian-born Lopes’ remarkable skills. An emotional tour de force, Inner Self is a passion project, one which her entire life has steadily built up to.
I was born and raised in Sao Paulo and grew up in a family with a strong artistic side,” Lopes said. “My mom was a theater actress and my dad worked as a music manager. When I was 11, my mom signed me up to acting school, where I spent seven years doing theater and also helping her manage entertainment events.”
Lopes grew up in the middle of a rich creative milieu, experiencing both sides of that world by acting onstage and organizing details in the back of the house. She quickly realized where her interests lay.
“I figured out that my passion was actually behind the scenes,” she said. “I was always fascinated by the production side.”
Lopes was just 18 but she plunged into professional life with full grown zeal.
“I decided to do my BFA in Radio and Television Broadcast,” she said. “I also started working in the industry, producing for ‘Panico na TV,’ one of Brazil’s most famous comedy TV shows. I had the most amazing and great experience of my life, in terms of professional and personal growth.”
The ambitious Lopes was balancing studies at Sao Paulo’s distinguished Universidade Anhembi Morumbi with her work on the series—and both proved invaluable.
“The great college I went to made me a better professional” she said. “But the best training I had was working and living the reality at ‘Panico na TV’ which taught me a lot of things about how to be a producer and also how not to be.”
Lopes’ acutely discerning perspective allowed her to gain critical knowledge at an accelerated pace, one which her professional career path easily matched; she relocated to Southern California where she earned a certificate in producing at the prestigious New York Film Academy.
With her degree in hand and based in the film epicenter, Lopes quickly began to establish herself as a force to be reckoned with. She produced a series of arresting short films (‘Blurred,’ ‘Blades,’ ‘Incomplete,’ ‘UnHappy,’ ‘Misfit’s Prick’), handily accomplishing everything from story and script development to budgeting, scheduling, location scouting and securing locations—the always demanding check list of requisite elements at which Lopes’ excels.
All of this led up to her most ambitious project to date, the altogether extraordinary ‘Inner Self,’ a film focused on an unusual and compelling subject—depression.
“Inner Self was an experimental project that inspired me,” Lopes said. “As the producer of this film, I want to depict the naked day-to-day truth of a young girl who suffers from severe depression.”
Lopes’ deftly handled examination of such raw psychological realities shrewdly mixes emotional subtlety and societal insight.
“Today’s social media generation ends up making it very difficult to identify depression as a disease,” she said. “The social mask teenagers wear also masks the problem, because they may show us a happy person with a happy life, but the problem is hidden inside, and they end up in a deep black hole of their inner, unrevealed self.”
Lopes aimed—and succeeded—in raising awareness and aiding the cause of suicide prevention with the engrossing production and the remarkable contributions of her marvelous star player.
“I was blessed to find an amazing and extremely talented young actress, Ester Vasquez,” Lopes said. “She brought so much life and value to this film and, in addition, she wrote a song especially for Sara, her character, who is a young musician that is trying to live her life with the disease.”
The actress was equally impressed with her producer. “Katy is a great producer because she is passionate and persistant,” Vasquez said. “she knows what she wants to achieve, has excellent pre-production organization She and smpathizes with her crew. By istening and treating everyone with respect, she makes us give the best of ourselves. Katy allowed me to freely explore my character while the camera was rolling—she let me improvise a song in the middle of the shoot! She truly values the people she’s working with.”
Lopes with Ester Vasquez
‘Inner Self’ is currently making the rounds of the festival circuit and has just been recognized as a semi- finalist at the prestigious Los Angeles Cine Fest.
“It’s been well received and people are very touched by the movie,” Lopes said. “After all, 99% of the population have someone close who suffers from depression or suicidal thoughts. As a producer and filmmaker, I feel completely responsible to try to influence this generation for the better.”
‘Inner Self’ epitomizes Lopes’ signature combination of prescient professionalism and socially conscious creativity, defining attributes with which she will continue to deliver even more significant creative contributions.