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Meet the Member: Valeria Bullo, Production Wellbeing and Inclusion Consultant

Updated: Apr 25



Valeria Bullo is Production Inclusion and Wellbeing Director at Sony Pictures Entertainment, as well as an Inclusion Consultant. She has a strong passion for behaviour change in the TV and film industry with a 20-year history in a wide range of high-level production experience including physical on-set production and in-house developmental work. She is also a former WFTV mentee.


Valeria has worked in production on blockbusters such as Inception, Sherlock Holmes, Maleficent, and Mad Max: Fury Road, and as a Production Executive at Pathe she worked on films like Judy, A United Kingdom, Suffragette, Selma, Florence Foster Jenkins and many more. More recently she acted as the Project Lead on The Film and TV Charity's Whole Picture Toolkit which provides practical tools and resources that support better mental health in the industry. In 2019 she founded Cinemamas, an online platform for parents working in the film industry in the hope of providing a place of support and conversation.



 


Q: Tell us a little bit about your journey to working in inclusion and wellbeing. Did you always want to work in this industry?

 

I’ve always enjoyed logistics, having multiple problems to fix and hurdles to jump through, so working in production was a natural fit for me. Having worked in film and TV for almost two decades, I made my way up the production ladder from runner to producer. Throughout that exciting journey, I got to travel the world, meet incredible people and be part of exhilarating projects.


As my career progressed, I became increasingly aware that the screen industries were dominated by white, straight, non-disabled, middle-class, men so I became committed to addressing the disparities and inequities within the industry. This drive led me to start teaching, mentoring and offering pastoral care to new entrants.

 

After becoming a mother, I found the industry even harder to navigate, so in 2019 I set up Cinemamas, with my partner in crime Aline Harjani. Cinemamas began as a peer support group for mothers working in film. It provided a safe space for them to navigate challenges, share experiences, and empower one another. Through Cinemamas, I have witnessed first-hand the transformative power of community support and the need for inclusive practices to be incorporated into all aspects of filmmaking. Shortly after I was offered the role of project lead to create the Whole Picture toolkit for The Film and TV Charity. Creating the toolkit was an incredible experience as it was co-designed with the UK industry, so it gave me the chance to interact and really understand how we can improve the ways in which we work on our productions.

 

Wellbeing and inclusion go hand in hand, I now work with companies, studios and productions to create supportive environments where individuals of all backgrounds feel valued and empowered. By fostering a culture of empathy, respect, and collaboration, I believe it is possible to dismantle barriers to inclusion.





Q: What do you love about working in film and television?

 

Film and TV is all about collaboration with others and therefore it is social. You’re almost always part of a larger team, becoming a cog in the creative process. Whether that's working alongside other skilled crew members or with on-screen talent like actors, models or presenters. You’re always learning.


I love the collective pursuit of crafting something beautiful or impactful together. Being part of a project whether it’s a short film or a multimillion-pound feature can be an exhilarating experience. But not always. Some jobs can be really challenging because of a strained working relationship or the content that you’re shooting, or simply the pressure that you’re experiencing.


This is why it’s important to ensure that we are looking after our mental health and of the people we work with, because ultimately happier teams make better content.


Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

 

When I started out a producer once told me "Remember those on their way up because they’ll remember you on your way down." It may sound like a cliché’ but I really do believe that whatever energy you contribute to the industry, positive or negative, tends to circle back to you eventually.

 

In our daily interactions, it’s not just about what tasks we accomplish or the words we utter. What truly resonates with others is how we make them feel: so think about whether you are really listening to a more junior member of the team, ask yourself is someone feeling overlooked, included or excluded, uplifted or small. We can all do better at helping to put back some of that good energy into what we do.

 


Above: Valeria and Cinemamas co-founder Aline Harjani

 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?

 

My career journey has been fuelled by a passion and love for what I do. I started relatively late in the industry, so I was determined to make-up for lost time and said yes to everything. This hunger led me to normalise some of the more challenging aspects of our industry – having to be always ready, always on, not having boundaries, being available 24/7 and even enduring toxicity. After years of sacrificing holidays, missing birthdays, wedding or even funerals – I realised that something had to change. Becoming a mother was a real pivotal point as navigating the complexities of parenthood further intensified the balancing act.


There were so many moments when I contemplated just walking away to find stability. Yet, what kept me anchored in film and TV was my desire to enact positive change within it. That is why Cinemamas was created, why I worked for The Film and TV Charity and why I continue to work in DEI. The industry has a long way to go but change has to start somewhere.

 

Q: What’s next for you?

 

I work as a wellbeing and inclusion consultant for studios, production companies, streamers and production teams. My focus is industry engagement and devising comprehensive wellbeing strategies while advocating for broader inclusivity initiatives.  

 

In addition, we recently introduced our Cinemamas consultancy services. We provide a range of offerings such as resource development, customised training programmes, bespoke masterclasses and frameworks. These services are designed to address key areas including talent retention, supporting returners, effective people management and leadership development.

 

We all have a role to play in making our industry more inclusive, it begins with actively taking steps through each conversation or action, gradually moving towards meaningful change.

 

I’m reminded of Gil Scott Heron’s "Work for peace". He emphasises that constant effort is required for good things to happen, because complacency and inaction only perpetuate the status quo.

 

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