Nile Saulter is a cinematographer, director, editor, and founding member of New Caribbean Cinema. He graduated from the New York Film Academy at King’s College, London in 2004. His commercial clients include Pepsi, Gatorade, Red Bull, Digicel, PSI and Island Outpost. His short films have been exhibited at The British Museum in London and the Michael Werner Gallery in New York, and screened at festivals in Toronto, Nigeria, Trinidad, Barbados, Cuba, St Lucia, Jamaica, and London, where his short film Coast won the award for Best Cinematography at the Portobello Film Festival in 2011. He has directed and codirected music videos for Bounty Killer and Skygrass, in addition to creating video art. Nile recently returned from Senegal, where he conducted interviews and shot footage for the Puma-sponsored One People documentary project to commemorate Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary. He’s recently gotten into fashion film productions also, and has shot two for the Lubica and We Are Massiv brands respectively. Nile has just completed his first feature film script for which pre-production will begin in the summer of 2013.
The first thing that inspired me to be an artist was watching the rain fall on the open sea. I grew up on the cliffs of Negril, and in those moments I remember thinking: how do I translate this contemplative experience unto a screen?
Then you grow up, and meet people, and travel, and fall in love and all that s**t. Inevitably, your statement of intent grows, and the world becomes something that you no longer just live in, it becomes something you also create. You feel a burning need to show your perspective, your inner world. In my case, nothing’s ever too literal, too shiny or too clear. My mind works like that so my hands do as well.
In my work I seek to delve a little deeper into the small motivations of people. To look at the things they perhaps never say, but feel in every step. I like to take the approach of a voyeur, shooting in that style, editing in that style. I’m inspired by the works of Antonioni, Soderbergh and Sofia Coppola. I’m more inspired by the people existing on this tiny bit of earth called Jamaica. All the rawness, beauty, characters of this place that can never be explained. Still, I try.
I first saw Nile Saulter’s work as part of the 2012 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival New Media segment (a project in collaboration with ARC Magazine). Two things struck me: pride in the strong work from the few Jamaican artists that participated in TTFF’s experimental film segment, and a question- why isn’t there more of this work from Jamaica? Since then, I have often returned to the poetic and beautiful meditation on Sengegal’s capital city Dakar that Nile produced for that occasion. The long, meandering shots and meditative aesthetic of the work is unusual in the Jamaican film community, a space more versed in the flashy cuts and bombastic feel of music videos. For this exhibition, Nile proposed a project that would turn his impressive eye for colour, and finesse with pacing on the streets of Jamaica. His re-envisioning of a familiar and popular character puts him in conversation with much of the work in New Roots, while his decisive auteurism ensures that he stands out in the show and the memory.