An interview with Nienke Izurieta, The Backyard Philly Project

We did a little interview with our Assistant Director, Nienke Izurieta, about her favorite scenes in The Backyard Philly Project and more. 

Nienke Izurieta, Assistant Director pictured with Bruce Kite, Cinematographer of The Backyard Philly Project.

Nienke Izurieta, Assistant Director pictured with Bruce Kite, Cinematographer of The Backyard Philly Project.

Tasia's Graduation -- a still shot from The Backyard Philly Project.

Tasia's Graduation -- a still shot from The Backyard Philly Project.

1. What is your role at Ferasha Films?

My title is Director of Still Photography, but my role at Ferasha Films and The Backyard Philly Project in particular includes all sorts of various tasks and responsibilities behind the scenes.

2. As the Assistant Director, what was your most memorable moment during the production of Backyard Philly?

I was able to attend and film Tasia's graduation ceremony. Taking part in that was a huge honor for me since it was a tremendous milestone for her and her family. It is one of the more redeeming parts of the film and one of the most memorable for me.

3. What was it like working as the Assistant Director and also the Still Photographer on set?

Tasia, Montae, Brianna and David are so likable it was so much fun to "work" with them on set. I had such a great time just spending time with them and getting to know them in between filming that I would often forget to photograph what was going on because I really enjoyed their company.

4. What is your favorite scene in the film?

This is a difficult question to answer. There are a few scenes that are my favorites for various reasons; whether it is a beautiful cinematographic shot, a witty juxtaposition, a profound statement or the rawness of emotion there are certain parts of the film that replay in my mind. There is one point in the film where Brianna breaks down and cries during her interview and I admire her so much for her vulnerability in that moment. Being a photographer, I question how far I can push the boundary of documenting  without imposing on the vulnerability of my subject. I want them to know that I can be trusted to tell their story truthfully without exploiting them. That scene in particular strikes a personal chord in me. I want to reach through the screen and comfort her.

5. What do you hope people will take away when they watch this film?

Poverty is complex and multifaceted.  My opinion is that the most effective way to fight it is on a small individual and inter-personal level. Make a difference in the life of one person and it has a ripple affect. Change can only come after realizing that poverty exists in places not very far from your front door. I don't expect The Backyard Philly Project to expose people to poverty that they haven't seen before but rather to change their perception of it. If anyone goes home after watching the film wondering how they can get involved in their neighborhood or community, I'd say that they took something away from the stories that they heard. That is a good first step in being called to action.


Our next event takes place this Thursday, June 27 at RAW: natural born artists in Philadelphia. More details here.