Nika Finch (Polovko, Veronika) is a San Francisco / Los Angeles – based award-winning filmmaker who works as a producer with films, commercials, music videos and corporate projects. The young and ambitious producer is already known for her successful projects like “Wanna Be Younk” by 7EVER & Sid Wilson for Younk, “Bad Boy” and “Hey Baby” by Tungevaag & Raaban for Sony Music Entertainment and many others.
Due to her decisiveness, excellent leadership skills and creative thinking the young producer has already gained an impressive track record. Being a sought-after professional, she provides expertise in promotion and production issues and is often invited as a guest expert to give an unbiased assessment to different projects.
I know that filmmaking is a stressful and rather exhausting activity, especially at the beginning of your way. What difficulties did you have to face at the beginning of your career? How did you manage all the challenges?
Challenges always happen, and you have to remember at all times that you can overcome all the severities. At the beginning of my career in Ukraine, as I did my first steps in this field and was only going to become what I am today, it was very difficult to prove that a woman can be on a par with men, can do business and produce serious projects. You see, most regrettably there is much racial, sexual and religious inequality in the world. This is a huge problem nowadays and we must speak about it.
I met many business partners and colleagues on my way, who saw me only as a woman who doesn’t understand a thing and has to spend her days in the kitchen. This attitude literally knocks down and you may lose any hope for fairness and confidence in yourself as a professional. But it made me even stronger and more determined to achieve my goals.
There were a lot of sexists in my life, but the essential is that there are much more people who are more forward-thinking and see women as equal professionals and colleagues. You only have to prove that you can follow your goals and you won’t stop halfway to your dream and successful career. It’s important to remember that the Universe is a large framework which always hears you and gives you challenges to make you better and stronger, as all everyone in the world fulfills his or her karmic obligation and play significant parts in other people’s lives. I am thankful to everyone who knocked me down and hedged my way and of course to everyone who believes in me.
What are you currently working at? Is it one particular project or you prefer working on several projects simultaneously?
Now I’m busy to create a short film “Riding in Cars with Strangers”. This is the story of a provincial girl who moved to a big city. Each time she calls a taxi like Uber of Lyft she meets strange and extraordinary people. For example, one of her incident acquaintances is an Asian Elvis Presley dressed up like Rock-n-Roll King himself. He is persuaded that Elvis didn’t die but was kidnapped by aliens, so now he bears a mission to keep him in memory of people till real Elvis is back. Of course, the film features a love story with one young man with whom the lead character shares a ride several times – the Universe works in an unpredictable way. The story was written and is directed by my very talented friend – Sanjana DeSilva. I’m fascinated with her genius and believe that she will become very famous in a few years.
Do you prefer working on films or music videos or ads? What would you call the most interesting for you?
I don’t want to shoot action movies but I want to talk about important things like social and environmental issues in such a way that people will hear me and be inspired to resolve these problems. I work both at music videos and social short videos. For example, one of our last social projects was about Wildlife Survivors (in post-production) depicting people who lived through disastrous fires in California, who lost everything they gained – home, property, etc. When talking to them, I literally went through these terrible events with them.
The worst thing is that no one can help many of the affected persons and they have nowhere to live anymore. It’s very sad that people are so unconcerned about other people’s grief and tragedies like this one. And again it is an issue of climate change which causes such catastrophes. We must always think of what we will leave after us and strive to create a better future.
One of my large projects is a documentary film about music and cult figures. Now I’m working at the film creation and gathering a team of likeminded professionals who believe that together we’ll be able to reach out to young people and musicians, to show why it’s wrong to look up to those who take drugs or alcohol or commit suicide. We are going to show good examples which are really worth following and say thank you to such celebrities.
Tell me about your favorite project among all you’ve worked at. What challenges did you have to face?
One of my favorite projects apart from those I produced in Ukraine since 2010 is the music video Wanna Be Younk by 7EVER feat. Sid Wilson (Slipknot). The project started as Younk company was looking for someone to create a story and shoot a video which could best define the core and the symbolism of the name “Younk” itself. If you take a look at the company’s logo, you’ll see the word “young” where “g” is changed to “k” when you press the button “Play Again”.
Our task was to invent a cool concept for the video, so we and the company’s marketing professionals and the director Henry Lipatov were searching for ideas for nearly a week. The most difficult thing in a producer’s job is to figure out what works best, to satisfy the needs of a customer and of course to make the customer’s marketing department see the same what the director sees. For example, the marketing department wanted to get an episode with dancing cheerleaders, the director, on the contrary, wanted to create something really innocent, positive and kind. As a producer, I had to make an estimate and state how much any given episode of a video would cost for a customer. As you understand, each episode created different needs and we have to know the costs of renting a location, getting permissions to shoot video in these locations, as well to understand what camera or lenses type and what light we would need. To my mind, this is the most challenging part of my job, as I have to find something that fits the budget and suits the idea and marketing purposes.
At the end, we decided that the video should feature children because children are the sincerest actors who definitely would catch the viewer’s attention. We decided to show children who found a strange object with a “Play Back” button, and every time the children saw injustice, they pushed the button and made people return into their childhood for a while and see the situation with a child’s eyes. I think it’s an enchanting and very pure story. You know, a lot of people would love to return into a bright and kind childhood and start everything afresh, become innocent and carefree and to have one more chance to take a correct decision.
I guess you have already worked with famous people before. What is it like? Is it difficult to work with celebrities?
I’ve oftentimes worked with celebrities – actors, top models, musicians, directors, and others – on the film set. The thing is, the more famous a person is, the easier it is to cooperate with him or her because you deal with an already successful people who already have accomplished much in their lives and do not want to prove anything to anyone. A celebrity may be dressed totally casually and come by an expensive car – or take Uber. Many famous people don’t care about that. But there are some newcomers who are only at the beginning of their career and are only starting to achieve something. They often want to be admired. So my experience tells me that the cooler and more famous a person is, the plainer and the more humane this person is.
Can you recall a day in your career which sticks in your memory and which you’ll remember for a long time?
There were plenty of days like that, as I always have many interesting stories which I recall with a smile on my face. It appears that each project I worked at left something remarkable in my memory. It was very pleasant to receive an invitation to become a member of the Association of Producers of Ukraine. Recognition in my motherland is very important for me, and I find it great to be a part of an organization which has a direct impact on the development of film industry in Ukraine, as there are a lot of talented young filmmakers in this country.
I think the most remarkable day in my life would be the day when I get an Oscar – this is my goal. I would wish to have many days like that and to have an opportunity to count Oscars on my bookshelf at home.