London based production company Lief have signed screenwriter and director Carolina Markowicz for commercial representation. Brazilian Markowicz is an all around force known for capturing authentic characters and human stories, and, in a world where stories matter, humanity is the new premium. Her distinguished body of work includes celebrated commercials as well as six exceptional short films, amongst them The Orphan, a fascinating expression of gender fluidity. Combined, her films have screened at over 300 festivals including Cannes, Locarno, Toronto and AFI and been awarded with more than 100 prizes, leading Markowicz to be heralded by Indiewire amongst “the world’s most exciting new filmmakers.”
Based on true events, The Orphan tells the story of Jonathas, a young boy who has been adopted and then “returned” to the orphanage due to his effeminate mannerisms. Switching from grippingly raw to stylized and dreamy in some moments (like the main character), Markowicz creates a vivid portrait of how one’s burgeoning sexuality can threaten the construction of a cis-family unit.
The short premiered at the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes and won the Cannes Queer Palm. The Orphan screened at more than 150 festivals worldwide, and won over 55 awards, including Best Film in Biarritz, Miami, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, Best Short in the Brazilian Academy, and the Jury Award at SXSW.
“It is so refreshing to unearth a filmmaker with such an effortless power for storytelling,” remarks founder of Lief, Margo Mars. “I constantly want to be surprised, to find something that does not feel recycled, and I feel that strongly when I experience what Carolina creates. She fearlessly experiments with aesthetics, but for Carolina, story leads the way, not style.”
Tatuapé Mahal Tower represented another highlight in her career. The comedy short premiered at TIFF, received Best of the Year Vimeo Staff Picks 2017, showed at more than 100 festivals and won over 30 awards.
Outside of film circles, Markowicz is already well known within the advertising world in Latin America. She was a copywriter at São Paulo’s leading agencies before going on to become a sought-after commercial director in her home country. This understanding of the inner-workings and expectations of the agency and client is an asset she brings to her new home at Lief, where Mars intends to usher her unique vision into strong commercial scripts and brand stories.
Lief know brands tell stories all the time, and that they have a huge platform that can help shape society. With this latest signing, they are continuing to build a home to powerful, diverse voices creating new, culture-defining narratives of representation.
Markowicz herself felt immediate chemistry with Mars, saying, “I fell in love with Margo’s vision as a producer the very first moment we spoke. “It is an honor to join such a talented slate and be working with powerhouse women like Margo and Alma Har’el. I can’t wait to do the first film together with these people that I admire so much.”
When asked what inspires her most about the short-form, Markowicz says, “The challenge to craft a story and also make the audience connect with the characters. In the short-format, you can try things, you can dare. That’s endlessly appealing to me.”