Nicky Smith: An Inspiring Baltimore Youth

At only 11 years old Nicky Smith began making independent films. He attended The Friends School of Baltimore for high school and is currently working on several new projects. Many of his projects have been fully influenced by what he has learned going to Steve Yeager’s Young Filmmaker’s Workshop, and various film classes at Friends. Also, he is always in the process of creating soundtracks for his short films, which consist of alternative, folk, and low-fi tunes, expanding his creative process greatly. He is interested in changing the future of film and cinema by focusing on the transcendent aspects of any work, and that can be seen in most of his films. There is a voice fully heard in all of his projects.

In his latest, Vinyl Fantasy, Smith mocks modern television culture, leaving the audience shocked with their own foolishness of being manipulated by popular culture. The fact that you have finished watching the video, completely manipulates you and argues the point of how although television may make you feel much more uninformed than you may think, it is also skewed on its own. As Smith said on a 2011 Q&A, “so there’s this really sinister undertone to everything on TV…you’re constantly being manipulated and tricked by this dumb, loud box. Vinyl Fantasy does not respect its audience. It thinks it’s dumb”.

In his film, Co La – “You’ve Been Expected” he deals with ideas of death, afterlife, heaven and hell, reincarnation, and the idea of sins without utilizing any dialogue. Although very young, Smith has shown his audience how he can manipulate colors and symbols to create a new world filled with complex ideas and characters. He thrives on using symbolism and psychedelic sounds and patterns. He does not let the known patterns of filmmaking get in the way of his personal vision. The various themes and ideas in his work are very clear, and at such a young age it is impressive that he is able to express himself through video so effectively. There is never a question as to what he is trying to convey, for both the color language and the dialogue of his films pair up to create his themes successfully.

The actors in his work tend to be his own personal friends, and Smith enjoys this for he is looking for the most organic representation of his characters. There is a focus on the actions of the characters rather than the actual personality they posses, which adds a certain mystery to all of Smith’s films. He does not develop the character’s past, but their immediate present – adding a certain urgency and present mindedness to his work. The feeling of being introduced into a new culture or society is present in his work, and how in a sense we are all connected, and although there is no physical connection, we all deal with the same existentialist crisis most times.

Here are some links if you want to check out Smith’s Vimeo page or music:


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