contributors / people / texts and contexts

An Interview with Bill Nichols

The following is an extract from an interview with the film theorist and former Women & Film contributor Bill Nichols with Dr. Tomas Crowder-Taraborelli, published on his blog this year.

http://www.tcrowdertaraborrelli.com/2011/11/interview-to-bill-nichols.html

” Tomas Crowder-Tarraborreli (TCT): I was reading in your biography that you studied medicine and then chemistry. There is something in your bio that says, “but then I changed my mind.” Can you tell me when, if there is a when, you became interested in documentary film?


Bill Nichols (BN): It began when I was in medical school. I was at Stanford Univeristy back then. There was the medical study, but the program gave you some free time. Really, in medicine nothing is free time, but relatively speaking. It was in the 60’s and there were these European films coming out that were really fascinating: Bergman, Antonioni, Fellini, Godard, and Truffaut. So I saw some of that work and I thought this is not like anything I’ve ever seen before, from growing up watching Hollywood films. It really started my interest and then that percolated slowly for a few years. I decided that I didn’t want to be a doctor, but I wasn’t sure what I did want to be. So I went into the Peace Corps and taught in a school in Kenya for 2 years. I saw about six films in those two years, but I began trying my hand at screenplay writing. So that added to my interest because it didn’t lead to selling anything, but it gave me more of a sense of how films work and that led to going to UCLA and studying film there.

TCT: And in terms of documentary films?
BN: Documentary was similar to discovering the European film, in that it wasn’t Hollywood. I had no complaint with Hollywood, it’s just that it’s what I was used to, so European film was like, “oh my goodness.” And the documentaries in the 60’s, that were about political issues, about Vietnam, about the draft, about liberation struggles, about Cuba, where also like, “oh my God, I didn’t know film could do this,” because I’d never seen anything like it before. I was interested and involved in the politics of the 60’s and 70’s, so it seemed almost natural to begin thinking about documentary, partly because no one was. ”
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s