The world is now in a different place. Twenty-six million jobs were lost in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) during the pandemic. The priority must be the economic recovery of the region through the creation of jobs. Developing the talent behind the camera is part of any attempt at diversifying economies and recovering from the pandemic. In 2019, approximately $5.7 billion was invested in audiovisual production in Latin America and the Caribbean, driving the creation of more than 1.6 million direct and indirect jobs. LAC countries must invigorate existing multi-sector partnerships to support a new generation of education and training policies to support the development of transversal skills that are critical for success in the rapidly changing 21st-century labour market.

In pre-Corona, with no brand recognition in the region, and in the face of a home-grown competitor, Netflix left its core markets and introduced its streaming service in Brazil in September 2011. Its audacious plan was to expand into 43 countries including Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean within seven days.  The move unmasked unexperienced challenges in Netflix’s core markets. Broadband Internet in 2011 reached a small percentage of homes in LAC countries.

Moreover, women in LAC countries struggled to fracture cellophane ceilings. Yet despite past prejudice and neoconservative backlash, a new generation of Brazilian Women Directors have produced bold, politically engaged and formally adventurous works of cinema. These films offer us proximity. We recognise our faces, streets, parks and muted voices. They multiply points of view. “House of Cards”, set in Washington D.C. is empty of any trace of propinquity. But it stands as the first original online-only streaming television series to receive major Emmy nominations and eight Golden Globe Award nominations.

In the past few years, the number of people turning to the internet for the news, cinema, and education has skyrocketed. The Global Over The Top (OTT) market size was valued at $121.61 billion in 2019. The online streaming market will be worth $124.6 billion by 2025. OTT services include the streaming of original films, cycles, sequels, spin-offs, remakes, and reboots that are delivered on demand to digital users by bypassing cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms, the types of companies that conventionally act as controllers of such content. It has also been used to describe no-carrier cellphones. A new fibre optic cable linking Brazil and Europe has gone live as part of efforts around improving connectivity in the South American state. The 6.200km long undersea link connects the Brazilian city of Fortaleza to Sines in Portugal, and allows data traffic at a speed of 100 Tbps, with 60 milliseconds.

The digital economy is the sum of economic activity that results from billions of everyday online connections among processes, people, devices and data. The spine is hyperconnectivity or the mounting interconnectedness that precipitates from the Internet, mobile technology and the internet of things (IoT). OTT services are in the nascent stage and the market is projected to witness innovative and advanced digital transformation.

In 2020, Brazil set a record with 19 films at Germany’s Berlinale—one of the largest film festivals worldwide, which also featured cinema from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. Brazil’s booming industry has been growing exponentially in the last decade, from 30 films released in 2001 to 185 in 2018.  And then, there are the blockbusters. Hollywood films inspired by Mexican themes such as “Coco” (2017) and “Frida” (2002) which have been successful at the international box office. However, there is no value in subsidising the making of films if there are no professionals to make them. There is urgent need to change public policy in the creative industries. The focus must be on developing talent and nurturing transversal skills.

COVID-19 has melted every measure that once obscured academic stagnation. Our region is the youngest in the industry and the youth of the region must be part of the promising future which the creative industries offer. New trends in the labour market will compel governments, businesses, institutions, and individuals to hastily identify what they need from the talent pools as jobs search for the talents they require. To meet this messianic “Never Normal” that is sprinting on the road towards us, schools must become disruptive platforms that assess and certify new transversal skills.

Having newer types of assessments is going to be key. Schools must offer audiovisual opportunities that celebrate deep thinking in tutoring bars and replacing timetables with playlists. Openings that showcase student achievement beyond the report card. Digital repositories of evidence of learning displayed in personalized digital portfolios. Portfolios that exhibit mindfulness, creativity, learnability, resilience, global citizenship, communication and collaboration skills.

This Khunian disruption is not about the virtualization of classrooms. The paradigm shift is in a rapid departure away from credentials towards skill acquisition and authentication and the unpacking of the curriculum into bite size bits or building blocks that are open-always to reconfiguration. It requires a new way of thinking about human potential and personal and professional development in a world that is always learning and never at rest.