“We’re here”: More Than Other makes a statement about the UK’s hidden Latinx community
The short documentary by Romano Pizzichini, produced by Capuri, challenges the fact that Latin Americans are not currently officially recognised as an ethnic minority by the UK government, despite their large numbers.
- 10 January 2020
- Ruby Boddington
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.
Having spent a couple of years doing test shoots, the project came to fruition when Romano met Breno Moreira and his team at Capuri. “The problem of invisibility becomes all the more evident when you realise people don’t think the Latinx story is big enough to invest in,” he explains. “It’s crazy that I had to go to Rio to find the funding, but it worked out perfectly in the end.”
At its core, More Than Other is about visibility and making a statement: “We’re here, we’re not all the same, but we are working towards common goals.” It shows differences in opinions, both politically but also on the subject of British and Latin American identity and embraces these complexities. Crucially, Romano didn’t want to offer a solution but rather sought to allow the film to serve as a conversation starter.
Interestingly, Romano relates his interest in capturing such underrepresented stories back to his childhood. “Growing up in between two places as culturally contrasting as Brazil and Canada helped me realise that people everywhere are essentially the same. At an early age, I got used to looking beyond surface differences and finding common ground between people from all backgrounds. That humanistic point of view has definitely informed the way I make films today.”
These sensibilities are felt throughout More Than Other, with Romano commenting that he hopes the film will prompt Londoners to visit places like the Seven Sisters Market and Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre – to enjoy the atmosphere, eat the food, and get to know the culture. “It’s so rich, but still so under the surface,” he says. “Both the market and the shopping centre are under serious threat of demolition/gentrification, so I also hope the people who watch this can somehow help save them. The more awareness that they exist, the harder it is for big companies and the London Mayor’s office to tear them down.”
More Than Other is directed by Romano and Breno who both also produced the film alongside Thiago Mascarenhas and Edu Rezende. You can find out more about how to help stop the closure of Seven Sisters Market on the Save Latin Village website.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.