Plymouth College of Art has appointed Spanish-born filmmaker Pedro Valiente as Programme Leader for its new BA (Hons) Contemporary Media Practice degree. The hands-on programme welcomes its first intake of new students to the college this month, focussing on audiovisual creativity and production, ranging from new media, television and film, to the performing and visual arts, designed to prime a new generation of media professionals and artists to meet the growing international need for innovative productions.
Pedro is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and multimedia artist. He is director/producer of the feature films ‘You are Mythical’, ‘New York Spin’; documentary films ‘Crossing Stages, ‘Cuba 15’; short films ‘Olvidadizo’, ‘The House of My Dreams’; and video-installations ‘Penelope is Waiting’, ‘Tarahumara Portraits’. Prior to his appointment at the college, Pedro has lectured at top universities in Europe and Latin America including Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Tec de Monterrey, Mexico.
Pedro has lived for 10 years in New York and five in Mexico City, working in 17 countries. He worked for three years with theater director/artist Robert Wilson, publishing a book on his creative process. He has received over forty honours including two awards at Berlinale, an Emmy nomination and National Geographic Prize. His works have been selected in Sundance, MoMa, Whitney Biennial, Lincoln Center, Harvard University, PBS, BBC, TVE, and Canal+.
Pedro said: ‘Before accepting the position as Programme Leader at Plymouth College of Art, I was an independent filmmaker and had been working for the past two years as director on the media section of ‘Crossing Stages’, a European art project that gave me an opportunity to become more involved in Europe, helping me to understand it better.
“We worked in six different countries and twelve languages with artists, professionals, scholars and students from all walks of life. I hope now to be able to bring that multicultural aspect to my teaching in Plymouth, to ensure broad horizons of upcoming media-makers.’
As a former director of international relations at New York Film Academy, director of programs at Televisa, director of Cancun Riviera Maya International Film Festival, and collaborator at NBC and Rockefeller Foundation, Pedro is in the list of Film Experts at MEDIA/European Union. A Fulbright Scholar and university professor with a PhD cum laude in Audiovisual Communication and MFA in Cinema Studies, with Screenwriting Studies at Columbia University, Pedro’s focus is on transmedia storytelling, visual/performing arts, and multicultural work. His research includes innovation, technology, social and sustainable development, and new projects in emerging environments.
Speaking of his influences, Pedro said: ‘My first connection with the arts came through theatre, growing up in La Mancha. Later on I became more interested in writing, and then studying in Madrid my major influence became contemporary art.
“I chose to focus on studying filmmaking in New York because it seemed to be the contemporary language that could best merge all art forms. Over time my work has evolved from documentary and fiction film to transmedia projects, because this seems to be the most compelling way to develop new approaches to storytelling.
‘In New York, Madrid and Santiago de Chile I have met people who are doing incredible work in the emerging land of new media. Personally, I’m most interested in developing sustainable working methods that combine new technologies with the multicultural aspects of society and the human experience.
“You can see this strand running through all of my previous endeavours, from my early film trying to capture the spirit of New Yorkers, through to the film festival that I organised in Mexico, and leading to this current opportunity to develop a new kind of BA (Hons) Contemporary Media Practice degree in the UK. This is an incredibly exciting time to work in new media.’
During this weekend’s Plymouth Art Weekender, Pedro’s film piece ‘Penelope is Waiting’ will be screening on the Big Screen in Plymouth city centre at various times throughout the weekend. Originally conceived as a transmedia project, Penelope is Waiting is a video-installation/performance created for art centres, public spaces and the internet.
Plymouth College of Art offers some of the best undergraduate photography and film programmes in the UK, with the college’s BA (Hons) Photography programme receiving an exceptional overall satisfaction rate of 100% in the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS) and BA (Hons) Film receiving an excellent overall satisfaction rate of 94%.
Additionally, this year Plymouth College of Art entered the Guardian university league tables for the first time as an institute of higher education, ranking in the top half of UK institutions offering Film Production & Photography programmes, including BA (Hons) Film, BA (Hons) Photography, BA (Hons) Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising & Editorial and BA (Hons) Contemporary Media Practice.
(from a press release)