Telling an Important Brazilian Story: Valéria Costa and her contribution to Netflix’s upcoming film ‘Sergio’

Valéria Costa spent her earliest years growing up in São Paulo, Brazil believing she wanted to be an actress. Performing felt like her calling, and it was her first real dream. She set out with the goal of one day taking the stage, and eventually took an internship at a theatre company to get closer to reaching her goal. However, that opportunity changed her life in a much different way than she anticipated. The more Costa immersed herself into the world of production, the more she found herself becoming interested in what was happening behind the scenes, rather than centre stage. Her interests began to shift, eager to explore the production side of things. The more she learned of these roles, the more she found herself leaving the world of theatre behind, and her passion for the film industry was born.

Now, Costa is a celebrated Production Manager in both her home country of Brazil and in the United States. She rose quickly within Brazil Production Services, starting with the renowned company in the end of 2017 as an Assistant Production Coordinator, where now, several promotions later, she is a Production Manager. 

“Brazil Production Services has a number of big industry players as their clients and I feel proud to be such an important part of the team,” she said.

Millions around the world have seen Costa’s outstanding work on both the big and small screen, including hits like TLC’s 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way, the popular music video “Get to Know Me” by Anitta featuring Alesso, and Netflix’s Hyperdrive series, the last of which is one of Costa’s many successes working with Netflix. 

“All of the projects that I’ve done for Netflix so far have a very interesting theme and have been great to produce. Another interesting thing is that, like other studios, Netflix has its own guidelines for shooting their content. After doing a few projects for them, I got very familiar with those guidelines and I have been able to help my clients deal with those rules once they are in Brazil and some things need to be adapted,” she said.

One of Costa’s latest projects for Netflix recently had its world premiere at the renowned Sundance Film Festival on January 28th, 2020. Sergio is an upcoming Netflix feature film, starring iconic Actors and Golden Globe nominees Wagner Moura (Narcos, Elite Squad) and​  Ana de Armas​ (Blade Runner 2049, Knives Out).

The film follows the charismatic and complex Sergio Vieira de Mello (Wagner Moura), who spent the majority of his storied career as a top UN diplomat working in the world’s most unstable regions, deftly navigating deals with presidents, revolutionaries, and war criminals for the sake of protecting the lives of ordinary people. Just as he readies himself for a simpler life with the woman he loves (Ana de Armas), Sergio takes one last assignment in Baghdad, which is newly plunged into chaos following the US invasion. The assignment is meant to be brief, until a bomb blast causes the walls of the UN headquarters to come literally crashing down upon him, setting into motion a gripping life-or-death struggle. Inspired by a true story, Sergio is a sweeping drama focused on a man pushed to his physical and emotional limits as he’s forced to confront his own divisive choices about ambition, family, and his capacity to love. 

“Sergio Vieira de Mello was an incredible person with an amazing story, but he never got the recognition that he deserved among the Brazilian general public so, I thought this movie was the perfect opportunity for people to know who Sergio was and how his work contributed to making the lives of so many people a lot better,” said Costa.

During the film’s production, Costa had the opportunity to work on two units of the movie, one in Brazil and one in New York City. For the Brazil unit, she was a Production Office Coordinator and for the NYC unit, she was the Production Coordinator. The entire experience was amazing for Costa. For the Brazilian unit, she was mainly responsible for managing and collecting all production paperwork such as crew deal memos, insurance policies, and city permits. She was also responsible for reviewing and approving crew payments. As this was a project that lasted for a few months, she had to make sure people were getting paid on time, so the production could continue smoothly. For the New York unit, she was responsible for building and managing the production budget, securing locations, equipment rentals, hiring local crew and coordinating the shoot schedule. She was a vital aspect of the film’s success and could not be prouder to have played her part in telling such an important story.

“It feels like a dream come true that Sergio had its premiere at Sundance, especially because it’s a project that has so many elements of my home country to it. It not only tells this amazing story about this Brazilian diplomat, but it also stars one of our biggest talents and we actually had Brazil as one of the filming locations,” she said.

Costa currently has two other Netflix projects she is working on, including the highly anticipated second season of Street Food. She is in charge of the Brazilian units for both projects and is excited to continue her work with such a wide-reaching company like Netflix.

Sergio drops on Netflix worldwide on April 17th, 2020. It sounds like a can’t miss, and in the meantime, watch the trailer here.

Photo by Fernanda Kirmayr

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