Nicole Franklin didn’t set out to be a film maker.
Originally from St. Louis, when Franklin arrived in Chicago to attend UIC, she had two goals: to be in Chicago, and to get a quality education in order to find an alternative profession to being a performer. Having grown up acting and dancing, she knew that she needed to supplement those creative talents in the unstable world of show business.
While at UIC, Franklin majored in Communications and became involved in journalism, where she helped launch an independent newspaper and wrote marketing materials for the Eye Center. It was when she was invited to apply for the Illinois Minority Broadcasters that her love for film began. Franklin was sent to a news station where she showed a special aptitude in the skill of editing.
Proficiency in news editing would be her flotation device while auditioning and pursuing acting roles in Los Angeles. While she was hitting a brick wall in auditions, Franklin made great headway in editing, which eventually led her to film production, and the creation of her company, Epiphany, Inc.
Fast forward to present day, Franklin is now a New York-based Director and Producer with 10 films and several awards under her belt. Her passion is in educating and entertaining, while encouraging the audience to be more productive by exploring and tackling taboo themes. Her signature presentation is filming joy and black women, evidenced by one of her earliest films, Double Dutch Divas.
Her latest film, Title VII, is her first narrative feature and was made with a micro budget of less than $100K raised through independent campaigns, and shot with the assistance of film students from Farleigh Dickinson University. Franklin is the Producer, Director, and co-wrote the screenplay with Craig T. Williams.
While the theme of Title VII isn’t joyful, it certainly highlights a topic that isn’t often discussed in the black community. Adapted from Within the Walls: A Journey through Sexism and Racism in Corporate America, by Daisy M. Jenkins, the story struck a personal chord with Franklin.
At the age of 19, Franklin worked for a predominantly black firm in Chicago where, for the first time in her life, she experienced black-on-black racism. Long after leaving the firm, she never forgot the discomfort of working for an unfair and often deliberately vicious supervisor.
Title VII, is named for the portion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination in the workplace, and tells the story of a black female CEO who objects to the hire of another black executive.
In addition to being a film maker, Franklin also mentors children and travels between New York and St. Louis to see her family and reconnect with the community. In the Fall, Franklin will be teaching television production at Hofstra University as an Assistant Professor.
Please come out and see Title VII, and meet Nicole Franklin at the Black Harvest Film Festival! The film is showing on Wednesday, 8/16 at 6:15 pm, or Thursday, 8/17 at 8:15 pm. For tickets, visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
For more information about Nicole Franklin, visit her site at www.nicolefranklin.com.
Gina B. is an executive search consultant and President/Chief Alchemist of Naturals by Gina B. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.