November 18, 2021

Vitória Vasconcellos Makes Mark in Horror

At the USC School of Cinematic Arts, faculty prepare students to become real-world creators, artists and filmmakers, continually merging theory and practice to propel them forward in their careers. 

Promoting a comprehensive exposure to all sectors of media, film and television, the school enables cross-discipline learning, regardless of a student’s major or specialization. 

?Vitória Vasconcellos, a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Arts in Cinema and Media Studies program, is a prime example of that very ethos. As an actor-director, Vasconcellos flexes her expertise both in front of and behind the camera, capturing everything from conventional coming-of-age dramas to experimental horror films.

Born and raised in Recife, a capital city in northeastern Brazil, Vasconcellos’ work seeks to explore the intersectionality of the female experience, often focusing on Latina voices. Speaking with the USC Brazil Office, Vasconcellos shared how SCA shaped her career as a filmmaker, advice for prospective USC students and her plans for the industry.

The Foundation for Artistic Storytelling at USC

While her four years at SCA were far from easy — and admittedly a bit overwhelming at times — Vasconcellos said the Trojan community taught her how to balance challenging academic pursuits to attain future career goals.

“Most of my accomplishments at USC were things I never thought I could achieve — but the undeniable truth is that being a Trojan made the definition of ‘impossible’ change for me. It made me confront the impostor syndrome that had followed me my whole life and gave me the tools and the courage to take ownership of my hard work and achievements,” she said. 

To this day, Vasconcellos references the coursework and knowledge gained during her time at SCA to help inform her career as a filmmaker and actor.

“The classes I took at the USC School of Cinematic Arts are the foundation of my life as a storyteller,” she said. “I constantly catch myself referring back to class notes and readings before going to set, even if at the time I thought the class was completely unrelated to acting or filmmaking.”

Vasconcellos also emphasized the life-changing influence of SCA’s Cinema and Media Studies faculty, including Aniko Imre, Ellen Seiter and Priya Jaikumar.  

How to Craft a Stand-Out Application

When asked what advice she would give to prospective students who are hoping tomake their applications stand out, Vasconcellos’ answer was simple, yet unfailing: Be yourself.

“[W]rite honestly and unpretentiously about what you are passionate about. So much of the application relies on writing skills, and keeping that in mind is paramount,” she said. “I know that my essays were personal, truthful and good representations of who I was and what I had to offer.”

In particular, Vasconcellos recommended positioning the application not as a personal plea for admittance, but as a proposal of your unique worldview.

“What is it about you that makes you different? What do you have to offer? What do you want the admissions team to remember about you once they’ve finished reading your application? Knowing the answers to these questions can be really helpful when drafting your application,” she explained. 

A Slate of Short Films

As for the future, Vasconcellos already has a series of short films in the works, including Beira-Mar, which is set to be filmed in her hometown of Recife. Vasconcellos’ latest short, Pathei Mathos, is continuing to make its way to film festivals around the world, and she is also in the final year of her acting program at the Stella Adler Art of Acting Studio.

“So, there are many plays to come,” she concluded.


To learn more about Vasconcellos and her work, check out her website and Instagram.