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independent cinema

With its disturbing take on narrative, Nightrunners is an emotionally penetrating journey to the darkest corners of human mind. The story is simple, yet the implications of its characters’ emotions are profound. An ambitiously constructed, elegantly photographed meditation on otherness, Nightrunners is based on a true legend of a remote Kenyan island. We are pleased to present Rowan Nicole Nielsen for this year's CinéWomen Edition. Rowan, you worked in the television, film and commercial industries for over 15 years, can you tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker? First of all, thank you so much for the selection. I am incredibly honoured to be part of this year’s CinéWomen Edition. My career trajectory is a fairly convoluted one — typical of many filmmakers. I have a fairly extensive martial arts background and so my entrance to the industry started with performing stunts. It was primarily for independent film, there wasn’t much in the way of safety standards and I usually got paid in coffee and pizza, but I was hooked. Everything about bringing the story to life was fascinating to me. I was finishing my degree - a BSc with a Biology major, incidentally - but I realized that what I wanted was to tell stories using film. I took acting classes and got an agent. I booked a few small roles which usually consisted of character names like “ND Cop #2” or “Female paramedic”. Roles for 6 feet tall, athletic women were scarce. Shocking, I know. My friend, Jesus Basuel, and I formed a produc-

tion company and started to shoot a SciFi Adventure web series called BlazeXPD. This was about 15 years ago. We were working ahead of the curve. But we made a valiant effort. We released about a dozen webisodes before we ran out of money and, to a certain extent, hit the limits of existing technology as most people at that time really didn’t have the bandwidth to support streaming video. But I learned so much from that experience in producing, writing, directing and acting. It was an amazing filmmaker’s bootcamp and extraordinary experience in doing a lot with very little. Around that time, I was hired as the Volunteer Coordinator for Out On Screen, which runs Vancouver’s Queer Film and Video Festival. This was an eyeopening introduction to a whole community of people telling really bold stories in incredibly innovative ways. Probably the biggest lesson for me working at the festival is that there isn’t necessarily anything special about being a filmmaker; there’s no one path to getting there. The only quality you really need is bravery and the only thing you have to possess is a story to tell. Following the festival, I was hired by Canadian director, Nettie Wild, as the Distribution Coordinator for her documentary, FIX: The Story of an Addicted City which focuses on the implementation of a safe injection site in Vancouver, Canada. Nettie had developed a novel and very grass roots approach to distributing the film. Each screening would be followed by a community forum with the audience, providing an opportunity for viewers to ask questions of local experts on the relevance and neces-

Profile for CinéWomen

Cinewom issue0015 art cinema  

Cinewom issue0015 art cinema  

Profile for cinewomen