When he was a teenager, Romano Pizzichini assumed he’d go and work in the world of business. “I liked suits,” he jokes. Originally from Brazil, his childhood was split between Brazil and the Toronto suburbs, neither being places with particularly large creative communities. When he moved to London a decade ago, however, that all changed. “After three months of studying shipping, I dropped out and started a foundation in film.”
Today, Romano works as a filmmaker in London and has dabbled in music videos, photography and branded content over the years, but it’s narrative and storytelling that he’s come to value most. This love of conveying the experiences of others is nowhere clearer than in his recently released personal project More Than Other. The short documentary follows the lives of several UK-born Latin American young people “coming of age in sociopolitical invisibility”.
It’s a thoughtful and meditative film, which unfolds quietly but which is anything but quiet in its message. For example, the “Other” in the film’s title refers to the “Other” ethnicity box that these kids so often have to tick when filling out official forms, as the UK government does not currently officially recognise Latin American as an ethnic minority. “This is a community with hardly any representation, despite it being as large as other more well-known London communities,” Romano points out.
He continues to explain his motivations for creating the film: “Being Brazilian, I think I’m more aware of London’s Latinx community. It certainly was that way at university. I studied at the London College of Communication, and had the Elephant and Castle shopping centre right next door. Every lunch break, I had this little gateway into Latin America. A place to kill my homesickness. Gradually, I found out there were more and more Latin pockets around London. I started wondering why there were no stories being told about this community and decided to tell them myself.”
Through research for a previous short fiction film about the Latinx community, Romano discovered that most Latin American people came to London during the late 1990s and 2000s. Many of these people brought young children with them, “which means that we have the biggest ever/first big generation of UK-Latinx kids coming of age right now.” These young people are now of an age where they’re beginning to question who they are and what their place in society is, making a film about their identity particularly pertinent.