VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Nicolela, Kika

Kika Nicolela
film and video artist from Brazil



Interview:10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

I was born in 1976, Brazil. I live and work in São Paulo. I’m graduated in Film by the University of São Paulo in 2000, and I have done especialization courses in directing at the UCLA (Los Angeles, US) in 2002.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

During my studies, I directed a few shorts, but I really started to develop my own work in 2003. Since my teen years I knew that filmmaking was my call; however, after working as assistant director for feature films I decided that what I really wanted was to experiment with film language and migrated for video art. Later I also started to make installations and performances.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?

I’m concerned with examining the connections between the camera, subject, author and viewer. I’m interested in issues such as the construction of identity, communication and voyeurism. I also investigate how the relationship between our body and the surrounding world (ie. nature or urban settings and culture) shapes our identity.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
In general, I could say that my artistic process include having an idea, finding out the essence of it, researching about the themes and/or techniques involved, then writing a shooting script – not a screenplay per se, but a script of the things I want to shoot, a kind of blue print to guide me, but at the shooting itself I always keep an open mind and improvise a lot.

The editing is actually the most creative part, in which the film really takes form. I experiment a lot, but always having in mind the essence of what I want to convey or express with the work. I do my best not to get impressed by easy effects, because there are so many available. I also avoid following stylistic tricks and trends. I try to find the right tone, rhythm and look for that particular piece I’m working on. And then comes the difficult task of knowing when it’s ready, when to stop and say: “that’s it, that’s the best I can do right now”.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

I have worked with all kinds of technical equipment – from the crudest device to the most advanced one. It really depends of the project I am working on. Some pieces demand a camera that has manual controls and great lenses. Others need a camera that is small and handy. So it’s a matter of choosing the right equipment for each especific case.

The process of making a video also changes drastically depending of which equipement you’re using, as well as the budgeting. Some cameras require a crew to work with – focus puller, camera assistant, director of photography – and more lighting equipment, hence making the project more expensive. I have to take all this into account.

Currently, I have the following options available: a digital photo camera (Canon G9), a HD handycam camera (Canon Vixia HF100) and a digital cinema camera that generates 4K images and uses 35mm lenses (RED One). I ocasionally use a MiniDV camera (Panasonic DVX100) or a DVCPRO camera (Panasonic HVX200).

Concerning editing softwares, I’ve used Sony Vegas for many years, but I switched to Final Cut Pro in 2007. I have also used Adobe Premiere and Avid in a few projects.

6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general
and you personally?

I don’t really understand this question…

7. How do you finance your films?
I either get grants or commissions, or I work independently using my own resources.

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

I have experience in both. I have some recurrent collaborators – the director of photography (and husband) Ching C. Wang, the music composer Thierry Gauthier, and the dancer Letícia Sekito – and other not so frequent partnerships.

I love working in a team, because this dynamic is creatively estimulating for me. If I know the collaborators very well, it’s even better; I believe the working process becomes more fluid.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

Ingmar Bergman, Wong Kar-Wai, David Lynch, Jean Luc Godard, P.T. Anderson, David Cronemberg, Peter Greenaway, Bill Viola, Chris Cunningham, Andy Wharhol, Tarkovsky and Kurosawa are some of the artists/filmmakers that influenced me. Traveling, people and art in general are infinite sources of inspiration for me as well.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

I just want to be able to make my work more easily – meaning getting grants and awards steadlier. I spend more time developing projects and applying them to grants than actually making them!

Can works of yours viewed online besides on VideoChannel? Where? List some links & resources
Yes. Most of my single-channel videos are available online. : my official website : my YouTube channel : my Vimeo channel (better resolution than YouTube)