How Nia DaCosta Went From Wide-Eyed NYU Film Grad to Hollywood Director on the Rise

IndieWire | 4/18/2019 | Staff
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This is the latest installment of “Breaking Black,” a weekly column focused on emerging black talent.

When New Yorker Nia DaCosta first visited Williston, North Dakota, the real-life setting on which her auspicious feature debut “Little Woods” is based, she found what she called the modern Wild West. The filmmaker was shocked by the stark inequalities she discovered in the fracking boomtown, especially when it came to healthcare and the reproductive rights for women. She found a place that felt lawless. She also found inspiration.

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“Something we are taught in film school is to write what you know, and I used to take that literally,” DaCosta said. “But I soon realized that what it meant to me was to write what I knew emotionally, because that’s how you connect with people who are completely unlike you and have different lived experiences.”

And so she set her sight on a story about lives that were foreign to her, but that resonated in a universal sense, driven by a desire to present the lives of women on screen that are rarely seen.

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When she began conceiving ideas for “Little Woods” in 2014, she was inspired by raging debate over how women’s health care issues were covered by the Affordable Care Act. “I was really struck by what felt like a total lack of any real connection being made to people’s actual lives,” she said. “And so I wanted to tell a story about that, but from the perspective of women who lived in rural America, particularly those who are living in poverty.”

She was further inspired by the realization of how relatively privileged she was to grow up and live in a metropolitan city like New York, which afforded her certain standard amenities that would be considered luxuries in more pastoral areas of the country. “Even though...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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