Vanessa Nicholson

Born and raised in Camden London, I grew up with Ghanaian traditions in the center of London, in a location which imitated Eastenders.

I developed a love of telling stories as a child but in the early days I was willingly encouraged to pursue a career in women's football playing for UK teams such as QPR and Derby County Ladies. I then went on to complete the dream my mother set out for me and achieved a degree in Economics and Politics before going onto forge a successful career in technology.

Corporate in nature and missing creative freedom, I began working as a freelance Content Creator and Videographer to supplement the rigidity embodied within my technology career. I then went onto study a Professional Diploma in Video and Film and began working on scripted productions including: Music Videos, Short Documentaries and Narrative Based Films.

I am passionate about challenging stereotypes within marginalised and underrepresented communities. My most recent film Sunday’s Child is focused on challenging notions associated with sex work, queerness and femininity. As a Queer, Black, Female, Martial Artist; Sunday's duality directly opposes all labels associated with her. Interwoven with an action based story situated in London the film tilts our perspective and we have to take a different look at the characters who's reputation often precede them.

Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
Our project is about a sex worker and aspiring martial artist as she navigates her internal challenges after a she's ambushed on her way to a fight.


What are your ambitions with your project?
Our main ambition is to create an entertaining show which dispels myths about sex workers and women generally.

Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
Our fight scene had to be changed on the day to ensure the safety of both fighters. Although we had rehearsed a full contact fight, for the safety of cast and crew this was changed on the day. I had to rethink on the spot the impact to the story and tailor the sequence with the fighters and stunt coordinator on the day.


For what group of spectators is your film targeted?

Fight fans, sports fans. Adults in the UK or USA aged under 40. Women of Colour aged under 40.

Why should distributors buy your film?
A feature film would combine Top Boy meets Fight Club two very successful films. We have now learnt the preparation and cost required to create the key scenes and believe there is a clear market for the film.


How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?

Emotive, Action packed, relatable, dark, lgbtq.

Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
I decided to become a film maker to create entertaining shows that challenge stereotypes within certain groups and communities. My overarching aim is to unify different groups through film and tv. I've been inspired by classics such as Shawshank Redemption , Forest Gump, O Brother, where art though? And newer films such as Interstellar, Inception. Combined with the first aim I enjoy is telling amazing stories to create mind-bending films.

Who is your role model?
Christopher Nolan, David Fincher

Which movies are your favorites? Why?
Shawshank Redemption - fantastic character development, amazing script, brilliant storytelling.

Inception - Fantastic at rewriting the rules in non linear story telling. Ending is just as good as the beginning.

Interstellar- Although very slow paced does well as trying to explain a fairly complex quantum physics theory.

Split - Brilliant acting, takes a difficult subject and is lightened.

Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
Being born and raised in Camden as a queer black African. I find inspiration in the diverse communities I have the privilege to be a part of. I draw plenty from my own internal conflict of what it means to be one thing or another and often see this in other people and communities. I enjoy dispelling stereotypes and placing a spotlight on particular strengths.

Which topics interest you the most?
The underdog, queer love vs heterosexual love, women and identity, women and sport, women in music, men and stereotypes, physics, human existence and consciousness. Marco economics and money.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
Completing Sunday's Child, which was produced over 3 months, shot in 3 days and edited in 3 months. This was self funded endeavour, although there are plenty of lessons learnt, I am proud of the quality of storytelling and cinematography in the film.

What do you consider most important about filming?
The safety of crew and particularly cast members especially during intimate or action based scenes. As an aspiring action director I place safety at the top of the production list during all scenes particularly those which carry greater risk. It's also imperative that the cast and crew enjoy working together and build trust throughout the process.

Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
I believe this solely depends on the script being told. I thoroughly enjoy really clean and stable shots achieved via steadicams like the one used in Sunday's Child during the fight scenes but also appreciate that sometimes intentional handheld shake can emphasise urgency and chaos. I also believe including a range of perspective is necessary to keep the viewer engaged but also understand that sometimes a single angle and shot length can emphasise an isolated feeling eg: loneliness.

How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?
I would say I'm 5/10 and this is purely because of the Directors I aspire to be considered amongst eg: Christopher Nolan. More time on set, great writing partnerships and a clear vision will increase this score.

What can disappoint you in a movie?
Unnecessary deaths and abrupt endings. I understand in actions films death is part of the resolution but I find it frustrating when it's introduced purely to help the script develop instead of being a natural part of the film progressing organically.

Who supports you in your film career?
My partner, also a creative is a great motivator. I also have friends within the industry who rigorously soundboard my project development for Sunday's Child, have provided feedback on the cinematography and overall film, as well as given their steer on what productions are looking for and major considerations Sundays Child development needs to include.

What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
General reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. Our initial trailer meant our first screening sold out. We've been asked to do a second screening and attendees have asked what happens next, when is this turning into a series as well as general interest into how we completed the film. We have had some feedback on the acting and tone which the whole team have been receptive and we appreciate.

Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
We've been invited to several festivals including Paris Short Film Festival and Black Alphabet in Chicago, one of the first black queer festivals.

We've also received awards from others such Los Angeles Cinematography Awards and invited to their sister festivals in Europe and New York.

What are your future plans in filmmaking carriere?
Ive been invited to direct 3 projects off the back of Sundays Child which I am reviewing to decide which I can best add value too. I am also focused on further developing Sunday's Child into a workable series.