With a complicated, yet beautiful Newfoundland connection, filmmaker Nicole Dorsey brings her latest production to The Rock where she shares it was meant to be right from the start
Nicole Dorsey may have big city dreams, being an LA-based commercial and narrative film director, but she also shares she feels she has a strong connection to Newfoundland.
“My grandfather and my mother’s full side of the family came over from Ireland, I believe it was three generations ago. My mother never met her father who was from Newfoundland and also had a family in Newfoundland, so she also has siblings here. We never discovered them until about ten years ago.”
This province kept beckoning to her, she continues. “I always felt kind of a calling to Newfoundland and I always had a desire to find this lineage that I never knew existed until ten years ago and that’s when I stated coming. The first time I came to Newfoundland was in 2010 and I’ve been coming back since. I guess I’ve always felt drawn to the place.”
Even before she began writing her latest feature film, Black Conflux, she knew she had to bring a film project here to this province.
Captivated by NL
“When I came in 2010 I explored and just felt I had to be here, and I was captivated by the place and I knew that some story had to be here. I knew I wanted to place something here and the story started developing from there. I love the geography of Newfoundland and also the smaller insular communities, especially in the 1980s, so it’s always been set here,” she says.
Black Conflux is the story of how two seemingly unconnected lives come together. A lonely outcast named Dennis, and Jackie, a promising 15-year-old teenager round out this unconventional coming-of-age tale set in small-town Newfoundland in the 1980s On day six of filming, The Newfoundland Herald was onset and the star of the show was a dated movie theatre washroom.
Dorsey laughs. “I just kind of had flashbacks to where you went and it was always to movies, the mall; the routine of that togetherness; flirting, checking out possibilities with other people, it was all part of the magic of growing up as a teenaged girl.”
But why the 80s? “I think the 80s just fit. There’s a lot of themes within this film and a lot of themes that are current but I find as an audience we tend to have an easier time when we are reflecting on the past vs looking at the present. Allowing some space gives us a different perspective.”
Themes like the lone wolf, or the influence of media were as real then as they are now. “I like playing with the distance of the time period but also seeing what has really changed and what has not changed from that time,” she says.
Dorsey is directing the film, but she says the cast is what makes the film. The majority of the cast and crew are locals – with the exception of the two main leads – and two well-known NL actors, Kate Corbett (Fargo) and Sofia Banzhaf (Closet Monster), also star in the movie.
“I have an amazing crew. Most everyone’s from here so everyone’s quite used to working well with fluctuating weather. We wouldn’t be moving so smoothly if it wasn’t for them. We have vehicles and locations and fires on a beach and a very large cast of about 40 people; so many moving parts that without a team that’s on the ball things could get chaotic quickly. Day six, knock on wood, everything is going well so far.”
On the writing of Black Conflux, Dorsey grows momentarily thoughtful.
“I think there’s a universal spirit in what (Jackie’s character) goes through and there’s certainly parts that are absolutely reflections of myself. Thinking of my own experiences and talking to others, there’s so much in here that woman, and even men, can relate to about growing up.”
The themes, she continues, are universal. “The insecurities, the wanting to fit in and puberty and discovering your own sexuality and figuring out what it means to be an adult and wanting to find yourself. That was something very big to me growing up; wanting to discover who I am and it had to be a rock solid thing. But as you grow up you learn that life is forever changing, and that’s beautiful.”
For more visit www.nicoledorsey.com.