Interview with Maite Alberdi | Perfiles SISA

An interview with Maite Alberdi, the talented Chilean filmmaker and producer more recently recognized for directing the Academy Award-nominated documentary, The Mole Agent (2020). 

Perfiles SISA is an interview section on our Journal that is centered around women we admire—women that reflect their identity through their work and practice. 

Today we highlight Maite Alberdi, the talented Chilean filmmaker and producer more recently recognized for directing The Mole Agent (2020), the emotional film that received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. 

Photography: Constanza Miranda

Maite is wearing the Recycled Wool Jumper in Black Checks and the Balloon Sleeve Pima Cotton Blouse in Lago.

Maite Alberdi's work has developed a particular style characterized by intimate portraits of small-scale worlds. Internationally recognized for her documentaries La once (Tea Time) (2014), Los niños (The Grown-Ups) (2016) and The Mole Agent (2020), Maite is a film director and producer, and the first  Chilean female director to be nominated to an Academy Award. 

She is also the founder of Micromundo Producciones, a space created to make documentary films that  “allow a profound exploration of different realities, as well as getting to know stories that we would not otherwise be able to access without the excuse of the camera”. 

The distinctive signature of her work is sharing prolongued periods of time with her characters, which has made her become one of the most important voices in Latin American documentary film. 
Patience and time play an important role in your work. We have heard you talk about giving 'the gift of time' to people during shoots; rolling while awaiting. Do you see any parallels between seeking this wait time and our approach at SISA? 

Time and long processes allow for ideas to mature and points of view to be defined in order to determine a viewpoint from which to see the world. When filming with time and no rush, reality starts gifting you moments that seem random but aren't—they are documented because there was patience to wait for them. It's a sort of programmed chance. In some sense, nothing occurs randomly. 
I think that SISA is similar in this—nothing occurs randomly. There is a creative search where design processes and their realization require time. There is no reaction to a specific kind of fashion, but only the creation of pieces that resemble artworks in a way. At a time when immediacy of communications lead us to reaction, we have to defend creative processes that do not arise from first impressions.  
Maite wears the Raglan Blouse in cupro Greda and a Knitted Vest in the same shade.
You are the first Chilean female filmmaker to be nominated for an Academy Award. How do you see this role? 

Women have been historically raised with few role models. This is changing, and I think it is vital to make all  of our triumphs and conquers visible. This generates opportunities for other women. The Academy Award nomination is a door that opens for me and other Latin American filmmakers and many women. 

Seeing the example of other women allows us to dream and dare to set new challenges that were previously unthinkable. 
Maite in the Branch Sweater in Teja, the Raglan Blouse in Greda and the Utility Jeans in Teja.
What moments in your trajectory so far do you remember fondly? 

I remember all of the shoots from my movies fondly. During each one I shared time with people I liked to be around. Whenever I finish filiming I am left with the sensation of just having graduated high school: your friendships will continue, but you won't share the same everyday life. When a shoot ends, this day-to-day I had with the protagonists is cut off, and I never have that again, even though we keep in touch. I am always nostalgic for those moments; those shared experiences. 

At SISA we aim to create garments that accompany stories and memories for a long time—pieces that foster each person's personal narrative through dressing. Are there any pieces that have a special meaning for you? 

The clothes that have a stronger meaning for me where, without a doubt, the ones that I inherited from my mother. I really like them. I wear them and think about her wearing those clothes, and I feel she's with me. 
Maite in the Short Cardigan in Malva and the Utility Jeans in Malva.
About Constanza Miranda
The photography in this collaboration is by Constanza Miranda (@cotidad), whose area of specialization is contemporary documentary photography. During her 10-year career, she has contributed for several magazines, media, and brands. She has had exhibitions in different parts of Chile and the world, particularly the UK. 

Her work centers around being in contact with people and capturing their presence as well as the traces they live in the spaces they inhabit or inhabited. “I believe Maite and I love to enter other people's lives. She chose film and I chose photography for this same purpose. I admire her because she's docile, intelligent, soft, and incisive. Deep and sensitive, all at the same time”, says Constanza.
Shop the look: Maite Alberdi