Thursday, May 14, 2015

Phillip Nelson -- Award Winning Filmmaker and SFI Alum

Phillip Nelson is a Seattle Film Institute alum.  He graduated our program in 2010.  Since then, he’s been working almost non-stop. It all started with SFI.

“SFI made a huge difference in my career,” Phillip says. “I was connected with another alum —  Collin Neal. I had asked several people about producing my short script from SFI called FRINK. Collin contacted me, read my script and green lighted the film. That’s how my career started and it was all because I was connected to a former alum.”

Phillip at work
Phillip had applied to another film school in Florida but after talking with SFI Director David Shulman, he made the switch to the filmmaking program here in Seattle. “After speaking with David, I realized how much more an education here was more practical and saved me so much money. And working with real film was fun and exciting.”

On the set of Humanity 101
Right now, Phillip says he’s got too many projects on the front burner to count. “I just shot a 48 Hour Film Project: Seattle short called Humanity 101. “Humanity 101 is about a day in the life of an Egyptian immigrant who has some trouble connecting, but after some time, realizes and sees the best of humanity in America.” Next on his list is a short horror film called 8 Years Later.  In July Phillip will pay it forward, working with another SFI alum, Krk Nordenstrom on another 48 Hour Film project. After that, he’s hoping to get his feature, Desert Gold ready to shoot.  Whew!

Last week, Nelson’s directorial offering Chinese Takeout for One was announced as a winner of 3-Minute Masterpieces 2015, Presented by The Seattle Times and The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). “I came across Chinese Takeout for One after joining the Weekend Warriors Facebook group. Weekend Warriors is an awesome group of filmmakers making films on the weekend, since most of us have full-time jobs. The film was shot on one location and in one day. It was tons of fun and I’m thankful to producers Summer Pervez and John Wu.

Phillip has a definite on set process when directing. “I have a few shots I like to do — a follow POV shot and a high angle wide shot. These shots provide a unique perspective to the viewer and they’re my specialty. You can see both of these shots in Chinese Takeout for One.”

We couldn’t end our talk with Phillip without asking the quintessential question: What is your favorite film and why? “I don’t have an absolute favorite,” Nelson laughs. “Social Network and Gladiator are a few of my absolute favorites. Gone Girl is another favorite. They have everything going for them — great shots, lighting, sound, music… it’s quite an experience. And you can connect with the main character, which is important.”
Production shot

Seattle Film Institute offers classes, BA in Film, graduate degrees and certificate programs in a variety of subjects including Filmmaking, Acting for Film, Motion Graphics and Visual FX and Sound Design and Recording Arts.  Visit for more information.

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