The Viscuña Brothers Company boasts a staff of exceptional talents in their various disciplines. Many of them are long time associates; at this point they could be described as extended family. Especially the ones who ARE extended family!
Heidi De Souza
Producer / Photographer
Heidi is a self taught photographer who has embraced the dual role of photographer/producer, though she admits, its hard work. She gladly left the business world before she entered it, having earned an associate degree in business management from ROYTEC, and feels her position at the Viscuña Brothers is secure. After all, she has the intelligence, resourcefulness and determination to survive on set, plus she did introduce her boss (Josh) to her sister, now his wife. With that kind of successful match-up, it sounds like she has a possible future in casting too.
Alan Lee Pow
Alan’s dad, Stephen Lee Pow, owns one of T&T’s most respected media houses. Stephen has had a part to play in almost every Vicuña’s pathway to media and of course he influenced Alan too. It’s not really surprising that tinkering around with cameras and lights was fun as a kid, but it all turned more serious when his interest in computers coincided with an industry revolution toward non-linear editing.
Barely teenagers, Alan and his brother were presented with the first version of Adobe Premiere. They found themselves ahead of the game in T&T, a position they’ve maintained. Alan’s not just an Editor, it’s not all about one program. His interest is in all the ways computers aid media production in general, among other things he’s an accomplished graphic artist too. You’d think he might want to avoid
computers on his down time, and yet… his video game addiction is pretty bad. If you happen to catch him playing a car racing game, ask him if he finally got his actual driver’s license. Geez!
Lisa Reyes Silva
If the Vicuñas need something to be bigger, or brighter, or narrower, or able to stand up to wind, or covered in glitter, or feathers, or shooting out talcum powder, or anything you can’t just buy in a store…
they call Auntie Lisa. She says set building was a part of life growing up, watching her dad’s window displays in his job as a commercial artist. She remembers one display carved entirely out of Styrofoam in the Yardley’s perfume shop window. Her dad did lots of signs, he was one of the first to use molded plastic in T&T, and it must have influenced her toward graphic art, which she did by hand in the 80s and then on computers in the 90s. She was in fact one of the first in T&T to use a computer graphics program while working at Bermudez. She should probably remind her upstart nephews and sons about that more often. She dabbled in interior design as well, and combined all her skills from time to time to create props, stages and sets, but not that often. Since the creation of the Viscuña Brothers… it’s once a month. If you want to give her a present, apparently she really really really loves ice (huh?). By the way, she’s not just called auntie out of T&T convention, she really is their aunt.
Jahnna thinks she’s finally found her life’s career, it took awhile though. As a little girl she wanted to be a flight attendant, as a teenager she achieved an associate degree in hospitality, as a working woman she spent 6 years in the insurance industry to end up… fried. “It was hell,” she recalls. Once she decided to leave her job at a private brokerage firm, it only took 3 weeks for Jahnna to find herself in an interview with Jonathan. The Vicuñas needed someone to do all round administration, HR and liaise with clients. Jahnna, her office management experience, and wide smile won them over. She says that media isn’t what makes her happy at The Viscuña Brothers Company, it’s the working environment, one of respect and humbleness, nothing like what she was accustomed to in her formal professional life. She finds it much easier to get up in the morning and go to work now. So much so that she’s added to her plate, Jahnna is now also pursuing a Management Bachelor’s degree in HR (with the Vicuñas’ full support). Hopefully work and study will still allow her some time to watch sports analysis programs as she admits to being a total fanatic. Talk about a team player.
Stephan “Bird” Edwards
1st AC/Focus Puller/Camera Operator
The man everyone now knows as “Bird” actually used to be a pirate. A media pirate. He was one of the fraternities of many in T&T who burn CDs and DVDs and ply them in the city streets. He’d been doing it since the game was cassettes actually. Our Bird didn’t used to have such a great relationship with the Police. He was tiring of the cat and mouse game when he heard his cousin turn down a job offer to work as a grip on the soap opera “The Reef”. He had no clue what a grip was, but he figured he’d learn. Jonathan Viscuña was running 2nd camera unit on “The Reef”, so technically he was there for Bird from the very start. And he saw that Bird had a strong work ethic that he cared about doing it right. Jonathan told him back then of his idea to form a company with his brothers and that there would be a job there for Bird someday. He didn’t give him the nickname though, that came from the Jamaican DP, Richard Lannaman. Bird went into this new career with skepticism, he figured there would be an initiation period where he’d be an outsider but found the opposite. He said it felt like he’d always been a part of the crew. It made him want to do more when the project wrapped. An unlikely pairing of masculine, burly Bird and effeminate, fine boned 1st AD Eden Ballah came next. Whatever production Eden worked on, he recommended Bird be hired too. Bird’s experience grew and grew. Jonathan Viscuña hired him frequently when the Viscuña Brothers Company was formed and 2 years into it they recognized how essential he’d become. Bird became the first non-admin official staff member. He knows he’s essential too, it’s obvious from the number of phone calls he gets when he’s off set. Bird says that the job can be tough, recalling a 47 hour shoot with a 2 hour break in the middle, but sticks with the Viscuña Brothers because he knows that in those tough times he can reach out to his employers. He is thriving in an environment with no strings attached, a place where you can raise any issue with your superiors and be heard. He’s cool with the police now too.
Ryan was originally qualified in computer repairs but a cousin who worked at TV6 nagged him to help assist on shoots, and that led to media courses at the Advanced Skills and Training Center and Stephen Lee Pow & Associates. Then, once upon a time in 2009, he got a phone call from a man he didn’t know, to work for a company he’d never heard of, in a place far away, at an hour that was late. Ryan thought the phone call could have been a kidnapping set-up, but he figured… he could fight, so he’d go anyway. This is how Ryan met the Vicuñas. A fitting introduction for the work he now does for them (more than 3 years later) as head grip, hard work, with long hours, and an ever demanding Jonathan Viscuña on his back. Ryan says he can set up a light in 10 seconds; just Jonathan wants it up in 8. That first shoot in Mayaro went all night and into the hot sun the next day. It was eye opening, drastically different from the environment he was used to. Ryan remembers standing in swamp water, holding a reflector in blazing sunlight and thinking that the Vicuñas were something serious. Ryan promptly lost his phone the next day; calls to hire him again went unanswered until a chance encounter with Bird put him back in contact. Jonathan now hires Ryan consistently, responding to his dedication and an uncommon trait in a Trini, punctuality. Ryan gives them first preference for his time because he knows that the experience he gains working on their high quality productions is worth it. Ryan senses that media production in T&T needs an overhaul, and he wants to do his part. He may not have realized it, but he did get kidnapped that first night, just not by an individual, by an industry.