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Berkley Brady of Nika Productions - The Dreamers Q & A

Photography by the famous Andras Schram.

DARK WOODS (Alberta)

Director/Writer: Berkley Brady

Producers: Michael Peterson (Peterson Polaris Corp), Berkeley Brady (NikaProductions)

Band, Director, Editor, Writer, Producer, Production Design, Camera Operator, Lighting, Voice Over

I'm a Métis artist who's been working in film since winning an award for new producing talent from Telefilm in 2006. After working for several production companies in Canada, I went to the U.S. and got my MFA in film from Columbia University in NY, NY. While there, I was also a reader for Likely Story (Synecdoche, New York; The Ice Storm; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Cooper’s Town (Capote). A short I produced, The Immaculate Reception, premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Since then, I've directed music videos, shorts and am currently writing two episodes, on Louis Riel and Peter Erasmus, for APTN's new show, "The Secret History of the Wild West which has been received very well. - Storyhive

What was your dream as a kid growing up?

To feel free. And to one day be an old lady who lived in a cottage and made potions and friends with animals.

What are the titles you want to be known by?

She/her; Filmmaker; artist.

Tell us the story of when you first took steps to start your dreams and career. How did it happen?

Choosing to study creative writing in University was a big leap and commitment to choose the art life over one with more security, though I lost my love of writing in the program (U of Vic). Through that I met the poet and dancer Erin Robinsong, and we became friends and roommates. She helped me see myself as an artist and is still a huge inspiration to me. From there, meeting other friends who were making it as artists and filmmakers gave me the gumption to apply to Columbia, which was a huge commitment to learning the craft of film making.

How has COVID effect your business and career?

Some aspects of work slowed down, especially in production, but I was lucky in that I was in a period of developing projects and writing, which is a fairly solitary process. COVID restrictions freed me from FOMO so I could buckle down like a hermit, guilt-free.

Where are you at now with your passion, dreams and life?

I'm proud of what I've accomplished and also burned out. Shooting a feature on locations in the mountains is no joke. I'm taking this time to regenerate and fill my creative cup, cook, spend time with my dog and grow a baby.


How many times have you gone for your dream and had to take a break, went full into it and then started something continuous or new?

Too many to count. All my artistic work and dreaming seems centered around narrative of some sort, so I keep coming back to storytelling through paints, photos, words and film.

What was it like to make your first film Dark Woods?! Tell us how you first started that journey?!

This was my first feature film, but not my first professional project. So having directed TV and many shorts really helped me understand what I needed to get, shot-wise. Mostly, I had already learned the hard way how it feels to be in the edit and not have what you need. That made me fight for shots and to know when we didn't have the best take. I think a lot of people want to be directors, but until you do it many times you can't know what the job really means. It is not about being the boss on set, though you are, it's about leading a group of very different people towards a common goal. The leadership aspect of directing isn't something they teach at film school, and no one's perfect. It's very humbling.

Where do you want to see your career at in 5 years?

I imagine I'll have a lot of TV directing under my belt, both on original shows and as a director-for-hire. What do you do to balance family and work?

I picked an amazing man as a partner, so I don't have to balance things on my own. We met on set--he's a cinematographer--and we have been working together ever since, and we're a strong team. He also reminds me to have fun and not work all the time, so that's helped me find balance. I know a lot of people in the industry who never walk away, and it's not how I want to live. What are the funnest moments with your dog Zuma? Zuma is a beast on the streets and a lady in the sheets, lol. As a reactive rescue dog, walking her keeps me on my toes, but at home she's a straight snuggler. She makes the funniest grunts and groans to let us know when she's bored or getting impatient with us. I love her personality aka dogality and sharing the days with another creature. If I could have 3 big dogs, I would in a second.

Share an encouraging quote from you to the fans about achieving your dreams.

It's been said by different people in different ways, but there's truth and power in the idea that when you commit to something, really really commit, then everything conspires to help you achieve it.

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