He may not be Jack Nicholson, but young kiwi lawyer Jack Nicol has been making his mark in the movie world with his first feature generating excitement.
Jack Nicol’s first move is featured on the New Zealand International Film Festival providing a spirited and entertaining look at female shearers headed for glory at the Golden Shears competition. Directed and written by Jack Nicol, the Otago law graduate who decided his passion for movies was greater than his desire to become a lawyer.
Jack Nicol didn’t see himself as destined to become a lawyer, admitting that his parents made him study law. He graduated with a double major in arts and law. But he has no regrets. “
“I’m glad they did, because I think it’s helped me understand the business side of filmmaking better, particularly New Zealand’s filmmaking environment, where the major funder is a government department. As a result, I appreciate the hard work (and hard job) the NZ Film Commission has of choosing what great stories to tell.”
Although admitted as a lawyer he never worked in a firm, heading in fact to further study at UCLA, home of many’movie brats’ including his idol, ‘Godfather’ producer Francis Ford Coppola.
“It was an incredible experience, they treat film really differently in California, as a business, not just an art.”
The movie passion has been longstanding for the young director/producer/writer.
“I’ve always loved film, and have always made movies. I think I’ve wanted to make a movie since I was a teenager.
“It’s a real craft though, like many jobs, you need a long apprenticeship before you’re ready to strike out on your own. I’ve been very fortunate to have some incredible mentors in the producers of She Shears, Georgina Conder and Ainsley Gardiner. They’re incredible professionals, and I’ve loved watching them work.”
“But movie making anywhere is hard work, particularly so far as the funding issues are concerned. Projects can take years to develop and still die before funding is sorted.
How did She Shears come about?
“We were fortunate to have Rural Woman New Zealand sponsor our film, and had investment from Rialto Distribution. The New Zealand Film Commission made up the bulk of the finance. It’s a fascinating business.”
Currently doing the Film Festival circuit, he’s hopeful that She Shears will lead to another feature. “I’ll enjoy the buzz around the film as it releases throughout the country, and hopefully head to some international festivals with the film.”
There are then other projects that he is “chipping away at” with the prospect of leveraging any success from She Shears to another feature.
But currently it’s enjoying She Shears and whatever opportunity that produces.
“I’m passionate about film as business, but mostly as an art. She Shears is a film full of heart and passion, it’s a fantastic emotional journey, and a real kiwi story. I was so pleased to see the audience’s reaction at our world premiere, people loved it”.