We had the good fortune of connecting with Bettina Hanna and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bettina, what do you attribute your success to?
I think it’s hard to point out only one thing about the trajectory that led me to the success in my career. I would say there are 3 things: I truly love what I do, I’m a hard worker and could easily stay 16,17 hours on set without complaining and I don’t care much about egos, neither mine or whoever I’m having to deal with. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect people, it is completely the opposite, I have much respect for everyone I work with, I call everyone in my staff by name and I honestly don’t think I have to treat differently a famous actress than a production assistant. In my field people care too much to be known and recognized and naturally I also want to have prestige but not by any means. Today I’m the head director of one of the most successful TV shows in Brazil, I worked really hard for that, but if tomorrow someone calls me to do something else, not in the same high position and I believe in the project, I’m in. I chose to work with television 21 years ago to create people’s emotions and that’s what matters to me the most, working with projects I believe in it regardless if I will win an Emmy award. I think that has to be a consequence, not a main goal.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What I love the most in my career is making my documentaries. I like to hear stories from people with different backgrounds, different experiences, weird people, successful people, it doesn’t matter. I also enjoy portraiting stories about exotic places where usually no one goes or it’s surrounded by mystery. I learned a lot by making this short docs because no one really teaches you how to have a good eye, you have to be curious first and foremost. I also had to learn how to do all by myself because I always worked with a big crew so each person has it own role. Working as a filmmaker I had to start doing it all, producing, filming, editing, etc. In the beginning it seemed overwhelming but I like to have a balance of both, working by myself and directing big tv shows with lots of talented people on my team.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely take them for a weekend at Joshua Tree, camping inside the park and watching the stars during the night. Back in San Diego I would have a walk at the boardwalk in Pacific Beach, catch the sunset in Sunset Cliffs, have a drink at Tower 23, eat sushi at Mister Sushi and a delicious ramen at Izakaya Maza. Also I love tacos at Oscar’s so that is definitely a go. Walking around Balboa Park, visiting the Meditation Gardens in Encinitas and going down the coast all the way to La jolla seems to be a perfect plan. Maybe we could see a whale in the ocean on the way!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are many people that I looked up when I was building my career. We have predominantly male directors in the entertainment industry so I was always in awe when I saw an incredible female director. There are few of them that inspired me: Ava DuVernay, Sophia Copolla and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. I must say I grew up wanting to be the journalist Christiane Amanpour, so fearless and determined. In my home country I got the pleasure of working with female directors who strongly helped me to become the professional I am today: Andrea Cassola, Chica Barros, Carla Barros and Raq Affonso.