Two Countries, Two Female Filmmakers, Eight Thousand Miles Apart: One Film

Nicole Donadio tells the story of an exciting tech-enabled collaboration between filmmakers from different worlds with a shared vision.

My name is Nicole Donadio, and I'm a Los Angeles filmmaker who is in the middle of working on a very unique project. It all began nearly three years ago, after I created and shot a parody trailer titled, The Women of Wall Street. It was a spoof on the film, The Wolf of Wall Street, where I spun gender roles on their heads, and changed all the male characters to women.

This video was spotted by Indian filmmaker, Uma Kumarapuram. Uma hails from Thrissur, a small town district in Kerala, India where she currently works as an Associate Director of Photography in the Malayalam Film Industry, and as an Assistant Director of Photography in Bollywood. Uma reached out to me, and we ended up bonding over our shared interests in filmmaking, as well as in movies that embody strong female characters. Uma suggested that we team up to make a movie together and I thought it was a fantastic idea.

We collaboratively wrote a script, but we will each be shooting half of the narrative film. My half will be shot in Los Angeles and Uma’s in Kerala. We will be shooting on the exact same camera, with a similar lens, and the same editing equipment. This will allow us to cut back and forth between our footage, without any jarring differences. Once the shooting wraps, all of the footage will be edited seamlessly together into one united film!

What is the film about?

Our film, titled Across the Ocean, tells the story of two strong-minded, mid-twenty-year-old women from vastly different cultures and locations. Though strangers, each woman strives for something else, a new job, a new home, and most importantly, a new adventure. Nila, a young woman from a small village in Kerala India, imagines escaping her mundane life and pursuing her dream of living in America. After meeting her fiancé through a matrimony website, she hopes he will whisk her away to this idealistic dream world. She unexpectedly finds herself facing challenges that threaten this possibility and the life she had envisioned for herself.

Thousands of miles away, Holly, a powerful executive from Los Angeles seems to have it all, the boyfriend, the job, the family, but something is missing. When an opportunity arises for a dream job in India, she struggles between facing her fears or staying in the safety and comfort of home. Even though they are a world apart, each woman deals with very similar hesitations and decisions. Ultimately, they both come to the realization that what's stopping them may not be their jobs, their friends, or families, but themselves.

We are both very excited to take on this feature length film, and to bridge a gap between two countries, as well as to make this collaborative film in such an incredibly unique way. We are hoping this film will also encourage and inspire many women, afraid to pursue their dreams of filmmaking, to reach out, grab them and achieve.

Nicole Donadio is a Los Angeles based writer and director. In 2010, she received her M.F.A. from Loyola Marymount University in Film and TV Production. After graduation, Donadio worked various jobs in the entertainment industry, most notably an assistant to Executive Producer Carrie Ann Inaba on the 2011 pilot, Grace, as well as positions at FOX’s American Idol, and ABC’s Castle.  She recently directed a short trailer parody titled, The Women of Wall Street. This parody of the Oscar nominated film, The Wolf of Wall Street, was featured in the Huffington Post, InTouch Weekly, Time Magazine, and Upworthy.com, as well as on ABC7 News - NY. Most recently, Donadio was the Web Content Producer on The Queen Latifah Show and the Tyra Banks talk show, FABLife. Visit Across the Ocean on Facebook. @NicDonadio