María Santana, the Venezuelan Winner of the Oscar for Best Sound in 2021

    She hopes to continue carrying the name of her country very high and honor her main muse: an art-loving family

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    For the Venezuelan María Carolina Santana, her grandfather is largely responsible for the love she feels for sound and for art in general. This sound engineer turned her passion into a profession that has given many satisfactions throughout her career.

    So much so that the night of Sunday, April 25, she was awarded with one of the most important recognitions in the entertainment industry: an Oscar. The 31-year-old sound engineer collaborated on the sound editing of: “Sound of Metal”, the film that won the Oscar for Best Sound at the 2021 US Film Academy Awards.

    Role of the sound engineer

    She says that for her a sound engineer has a very particular role, mainly she is very attentive to other people, to what surrounds her. Arguing that it is necessary to have empathy and an intimacy to capture a moment and be able to immortalize like a photograph or a drawing. “You must feel that you can capture a feeling, an emotion for eternity to be able to be heard again, to transcend”, she says.

    “In my family there are beautiful stories of very artistic people: my father, my grandfather and my greatgrandfather were all poets and writers. I think that I felt it a lot since I was little and it inspired me to somehow always be linked to something that had to do with art,” said the sound engineer.

    The path to Sound of Metal

    This film, released in early 2021, tells the story of a renowned drummer who loses his hearing. And he sees in it an obstacle to continue with the work that he loves so much. A film where sound was an important piece for its success, and that was what María Carolina Santana was aware of when accepting the proposal.

    Santana joined the Sound of Metal team in December 2018. The initial work was done in France, the country to which she emigrated 14 years ago. Later they continued the work in the United States, and the final product was ready in Mexico.

    “I came to the Sound of Metal team for great encounters. I work in a collective of sound engineers in France. We have been thinking for a long time that it would be interesting if I could work with Nicolás Becker, who is the sound supervisor of the film”.

    “And well, we had been in the same association for years and this was the first project in which we connected, one of my colleagues introduced us”, she continued. “He happened to be looking for someone who had my profile: who was a musician, who spoke English, who spoke Spanish and everything was fitting for this to happen.”

    María Carolina describes the experience as unique, but also a great challenge for her professional career. For the creators of the film it was important that the whole team connect with the story, and achieving it required work. “I feel that this is what the film has been for me, it changed me, it changed my way of seeing many things,” she confesses.

    Great pride

    The Venezuelan feels great pride and privilege for the result they obtained with Sound of Metal. In her opinion, the biggest prize is the family she formed as a result of the film. “That connection with the people with whom I worked, with whom we developed this project, I think that is what filled me the most and what taught me the most, what I am left with. It is something that marked me,” she added.

    Intact her love for Venezuela

    Although María Carolina left Venezuela when she was just 17 years old, her love and roots for the land where she was born has remained throughout time. She dreams of a Venezuela in which everyone can advance to contribute to the transformation of a more just and equitable country. It highlights the strength and firmness of Venezuelans, not only those who still reside in the country, but also those who decided to emigrate.

    The young woman comments that she has the illusion of returning, although for now she does not know when she will be able to. “Maybe what you have to do is change a little bit of illusions like in this movie (Sound of Metal), to know that things are going to be different, but maybe they can be different for the better,” she says.
    Meanwhile, she is focused on continuing to grow professionally. Wanting to continue working as a sound engineer, but would like to get involved in more projects like the recent one, where art converges through different sources. “Anything that allows me to continue to exchange with people, to connect with people anywhere in the world and any type of art, would be a dream for me,” she says.

    The difficulties, the distance with family and country have not been in vain. Thanks to this, and to hard work, she has managed to take important steps and hopes to continue doing so to carry the name of her country very high, and above all to honor her main muse: an art-loving family.

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