The Green Room is the perfect place to connect with some great creatives in our industry and maintain social distancing during these tough times. It is our pleasure to welcome the super talented Nicola Fan.
Thanks so much for joining us!
Now we first met back in 2017 with your documentary ‘She Objects’- your latest release is the mesmerising ‘Daffodil’ how do you feel you have developed as a filmmaker and story teller?
Documentary and Narrative are such different worlds and require different work methods- they both have unique aspects I love very much. I enjoy working with real people and actors/actresses, each group provides a unique energy and vibe to the piece. Documentary helps me become a better listener, Narrative helps me process life. Both genres help me connect the dots.
You wear the hat of graphic designer and filmmaker- how important and how long do you spend on the visual element of your films?
I’m really glad I started out in Graphic Design, as that really taught me creative organisation and staying focused on the subject matter and keeping the audience in mind. My background in Design also pushes my Art Direction and eye for motion-graphics and animation, it keeps things exciting and a chance to depict surrealism (which is also a form of reality to me). Logistically it’s definitely extra work, of at least a month or so after editing. But so worth it!
Now as mentioned you are a graphic designer by trade and have worked with some very high profile companies- do you find following a brief tough compared to having free reign with your own projects and ideas?
I enjoy the balance of both- a brief sets the tone and purpose early on, I then help visualise and refine things. Ultimately the client is the boss and my job is to help answer the project in a beautiful and impactful manner. I enjoy clients who are open to collaboration. In contrast, when working on my own projects, creative freedom runs wild! It would take self discipline to keep things focused and precise.
So….50 filmmakers were selected for Werner Herzog’s Film Accelerator Lab- you were 1 of them. Tell us a little bit about that?
It was supposed to commence in late April for 2 weeks- where 50 of us will each make a short film or documentary at the Amazon of Colombia, based on a theme set by Herzog. Upon arrival, we would be introduced to the local communities, a chance to find our own story to focus on. Yes, we would have to keep our gear minimum, work fast in one-woman-band style and under limited resources deep in the forest. I even got my injections already! Although the trip is postponed for now, we will now be paired with another filmmaker from Colombia Amazon community to correspond “video letters” with, also within a theme set by Herzog. The idea is similar to pen-pal, but in audiovisual form. As a prelude to the trip, I’m excited for this activity as well!
Right now- we are living in a huge unexperienced piece of history with the Covid-19 pandemic. How are you coping with the restrictions on creativity outdoors?
It has not been easy. Firstly, commercial gigs have dried up and or become limited since the HK protest movement in 2019. Covid-19 has also tremendously cut down on screenings, networking and film festival opportunities. I’ve had shoots/projects and work travel postponed for public health safety. But I’m taking this time to reset and develop new material, with a few things in the pre-production pipeline.
Although ‘Daffodil’ is a fresh and new project are you already thinking of your next project, maybe a feature narrative?
Yes! I’m currently developing a feature narrative- a dark comedy that centers on Mark the Founder of a relative-rental agency in China and his clients’ eccentric needs to meet the social status quo. It is a film that explores our modern take on love, happiness and self-identity in the new age.
Short and simple- you have to pick one- Graphic Designer or filmmaker?
I honestly love both, but if I must pick one… filmmaker, for its immersive experience.