Rodrigo Bellot ’01, who has worked on 12 feature films since he graduated from Ithaca College as a film major, visited campus as a professional in residence last April to visit classes and host lectures open to students.
After a screening of his film We Are What We Are, which was nominated for 11 awards, including one at the Cannes Film Festival, Bellot offered advice to students about perspective, work ethic, and making it in the industry.
Bellot stressed that failures are necessary for real successes. Originally from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Bellot said he grew up expecting to fail, having grown up in a country burdened by a 500-year colonial legacy. In America, he said, there is so much pressure to succeed that failure is not an option.
But Bellot thinks that pressure may do more harm than good. “Permission to fail is actually very powerful,” he stated. “Anything better than failure is icing on the cake.”
To current students, creating multiple academy award-nominated films and a play soon-to-be featured on Broadway—the first Bolivian play in history to be featured on Broadway—may not sound much like failure.
Bellot sees it differently though. “It does sound like a great success story,” he said. “But for me, it feels like I’ve been failing and working on a second film since 2001.”
After all, what you do behind the scenes in preparation for a new project is just as important as what you do when the camera is still rolling—maybe even more so.
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