Searchlight: Nicole Volavka

A small, orange-haired girl peers out of a bin, a boy stares dazed from the middle of a landfill site. Nicole Volavka’s MA film project Rubbish is desolate, sad – and more powerful than the usual spec spot. If her awards success in 2009 is anything to go by, she’s a commercials talent to look out for. After being shortlisted at YDA 2009, Volavka was snapped up for representation in the Czech Rrepublic and last month she scooped the special prize at the Porsche Awards.

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We caught up with Volavka after the Porsche Awards to talk about the power of chocolate biscuits and her plans for the future.


Tell us about making Rubbish, how it came about, was there a brief, was a college project, and where did you get the idea?
It was a project for my MA at the London Film School. A brief was provided by Ogilvy for the Kodak Student Commerical Awards, but it was pretty open.  My idea was simply that some children get treated like rubbish, and the whole thing from conception to completion took just over a month. The DP was fellow LFS graduate Aaron Reid. We shot it for £500 one weekend, although we did take care to have all the proper paperwork like location licences.

What was the biggest challenge on this project?
I don’t think that Harrow Council realised we’d be putting a child in the middle of their rubbish tip, and I was astonished on the day that they agreed to us doing it. There were still trucks at work chucking stuff on.
I should mention that no children were harmed, they were just talented actors! Children are very easy to work with actually; they are natural and not as self-conscious as adults can be. As long as they have chocolate biscuits.

Tell us about the other films you’ve made and what you’ve been doing since the YDA in Cannes last year.
Following the YDA nomination, I was signed to Saward Management in Prague as I am bilingual in Czech.  This summer, I shot a 20min short film in Croatia, about a mother and daughter reunited after the Balkans War.  That was a passion project of mine, and took a year to get going whilst I set things up there with my producers, raised money and learnt Croatian! It’ll be screening at Framestore in January, so if you’d like to see it please email LaundryFilm@Gmail.Com.

 What are your hopes and plans for next year?
Ideally, I would like to get signed in London, and start working as a Director! I’d like to make another commercial, and am particularly interested in brand content short films, as I’ve made six short films now, many with corporate sponsorship.  I’m also developing a feature with the BBC Writer’s Room, and will be working hard to get that off the ground.  Despite the difficult economic climate, I’m going to go all out to try to make things happen, so look out!

And what do you plan to do with 900 euros worth of air tickets?
Lots of weekends in Europe! German Christmas markets, Iceland, yoga in Ibiza, Cannes Lions, film festivals in Croatia, visiting my Granny in Prague – the list is endless, and I’m sure they’ll be used up very quickly!


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