Bia Jurema ’15, a School of Communications alumna, directed, shot and edited a video currently playing on the arena’s LED screens during NBA games and concerts.
Bia Jurema’s first post-graduation break came when she had nowhere else to go. And, fortuitously, the Elon University graduate ended up at a skate park in Venice Beach, California.
Camera in hand, the media arts and entertainment major captured video of the skaters’ beachside paradise that now plays in the Staples Center, Los Angeles’ renowned multi-purpose sports arena.
Just a few months removed from graduation, the class of 2015 graduate relocated to Los Angeles in late summer to commence her dream of working in the film industry. While she initially didn’t have a job or a residence of her own, Jurema had time – and plenty of it.
“When I moved to Los Angeles, I didn’t have a place to live or a job so I had entire days free,” the Communications Fellows said. “I started going to Venice Beach a lot because the people were so intriguing. I spent two afternoons at the skate park, just filming the characters and the atmosphere. I saw the potential in the footage, and so with the addition of some sound design, I edited it into a two-minute piece.”
After posting her work online, Jurema’s self-described “crazy story” began. She received an incredible response from friends and peers, as well as an unexpected email. A Toshiba marketing representative loved the video and asked to feature the piece in the company’s LA Interactive Space at the Staples Center, home to the Los Angeles Lakers and a multitude of other sporting and concert events. The company also plans to broadcast Jurema’s work on the arena’s massive LED screen during future halftime shows.
“It was all very surreal,” Jurema said of the unanticipated exposure.
The experience convinced the Brazil-born filmmaker to start her own production company, Bia Jurema Films, a fledgling venture she is pouring herself into. The challenge of charting her own career course excites the elondocs alum.
“I started Bia Jurema Films because I had an urgency to create original content,” she said. “I kept asking myself, ‘Why should I wait for someone else’s approval to make art?’ So, I began honing my skills as a producer so that I could have complete control of my content, from start to finish. And then through word of mouth and knocking on doors, Bia Jurema Films was born.”
Jurema admitted she initially had to overcome her own uncertainty, insecurity and fear. However, disregarding the status quo has been liberating for her.
“I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of immediately getting a job, maybe even one you aren’t necessarily happy with, in order to feel safe and secure,” she said. “Had I taken a 9-5 editor position at a desk somewhere, my video would never be playing at the Staples Center today.”
In the time since, Jurema has continued to work for herself, concentrating on writing fiction and developing a few narrative projects that she can direct. She’s found immense satisfaction in pursuing not a paycheck but rather her own goals.
“I’m honestly just happy to be doing what I love,” she said. “I’m still grateful for the fact that I went to school for film and that’s exactly what I’m doing: making films.”