Sofía Carrera-Britten FAV 23 by Jo Sittenfeld
Nov 2022

Framing the Discussion

Support from a scholarship gives Sofía Carrera-Britten FAV 23 the freedom to articulate his creative vision.

When Sofía Carrera-Britten 23 FAV was working on his junior year project, a complex and ambitious single channel video that investigated the idea of love and what gets in the way of it, the 16-millimeter film stock he was using got tangled inside a malfunctioning camera. Over the course of the project, which involved choreography, multimedia and surreal dream sequences, many things had gone wrong, but at that moment, managing a live set and crew of his peers on a rainy night, Carrera-Britten considered throwing in the towel. His cinematographer, Olivia Schroeder 23 FAV, gently reminded him that it was an old camera, there were other nights and the crew would stick with him until he finished the film.

That kind of peer support, and the effort so many RISD students are making to create community and collaboration, Carrera-Britten said, is central to his experience at RISD.

“I am only doing what I’m doing and I only feel that I can do what I’m doing because I am surrounded by other people who are showing me the way, showing me the possibilities and starting communities,” he said.

In high school in Portland, Oregon, Carrera-Britten made art but felt like he was doing so in a vacuum. RISD’s Experimental and Foundation Studies first-year program helped him get on the same footing as his peers and become accustomed to exposing his art to others in a rigorous environment. Now, he said, he makes art that is in dialogue with everything around it.

Initially interested in a host of possible majors, Carrera-Britten chose Film/Animation/Video (FAV) with a concentration in Literary Arts and Studies after poring over the course catalog listings for every department that interested him. A gifted writer attuned to language, Carrera-Britten was taken with the film history course title “Time, Light and Sound,” which he said is “just a really a beautiful way to frame a discussion of film history,” and by the fact that FAV was a space “where language is so present, through the dialogue of a movie, but also the way that we talk about it and the way that we make it.”

“Another reason I love film is that it’s almost impossible to create a film on your own,” Carrera-Britten said. “A film will be much stronger when you make it with other people.”

Even Carrera-Britten’s generative process is collaborative. He and a friend developed an exercise where they identify three points: what the project is about, what it is and what it is made of—for example a book about masculinity incorporating hair. He then destabilizes that by changing either the material, the topic or the format. He measures projects’ success not by whether he has executed a particular plan but by what he discovers along the way

“Another reason I love film is that it’s almost impossible to create a film on your own,” Carrera-Britten said. “A film will be much stronger when you make it with other people.”

When Carrera-Britten talks about his artmaking, his thoughtfulness and openness to discovery is striking. That level of engagement is made possible in part by the Kira M. Fischer Memorial Scholarship, which he has received for the last two years.

“For a very long time I’ve been concerned about finances,” Carrera-Britten said. “People in similar economic circumstances can sympathize with the amount of mental energy it takes up in day-to-day life. The concern oscillates between longer-term, large-scale things and day-to-day things like groceries. It’s exhausting.”

The scholarship allows him to concentrate on his work and eases the burden on his parents, who are helping pay for school. The scholarship was created in memory of Kira M. Fischer 03* FAV and Carrera-Britten said he is grateful to follow in Fischer’s footsteps as a RISD student alongside peers who take the attitude that “it’s actually really cool to love things instead of feigning indifference, to just be really open about how obsessed you are with life,” he said. “I’m very grateful to the people that are here right now, doing that work.”