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Meet Nika Burnett

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nika Burnett.

Hi Nika, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started acting on stage and singing jazz at age six in a small town in Northern California. I balanced the arts with a life as a young athlete and made the transition from theater to film after graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a Philosophy degree. My time at university and studies in philosophy expanded my interests from acting into all parts of filmmaking. After my final quarter of school spent in Florence, Italy, I started writing, directing, and acting in my own short films in the Bay Area in 2014. I moved to Los Angeles summer of 2015, where I continued to write, direct, and star in small short films while I worked professionally as a PA, editor, and eventually director of branded content. This broad spectrum of experience on set has hugely shaped my appreciation for filmmaking and my desire to continue it. In Fall of 2018, I crowdfunded and wrote, directed, and starred in my first feature film BRINDISI, with my Italian creative partner Alessandro Marino. We made the movie together in the titular town in the south of Italy, premiered the film at festivals around the world, and have since made it available on Amazon Prime Video. I have made three short films since in my multi-hyphenate capacity, have two feature scripts around town working to get made, and have two more short films that will be released this year.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I think the road being smooth depends so much on perspective rather than actual experience. There were days I was miserable and hopeless, and others I felt like I was floating on air, without much change in my circumstance. I think to have such a singular passion will never be a smooth road, but I’d prefer it to the alternative. I feel so privileged to know what I want and to be able to pursue those passions, especially in the varied capacity I have been able to do so. The biggest struggle is to relish in the pursuit of the dream and not hang your joy on the idea of an endpoint of success that may come at some point down the road. It is a great success to me to be able to live in Los Angeles, pay rent, and hang out with fellow artists trying to fight the good fight. Everything else would be extra cherries on top.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I act, write, and direct. I edit most of the things I direct as well, which has become a great joy of the process to me. My feature film BRINDISI that I co-wrote, directed, and starred in with Alessandro Marino, is a bi-lingual Italian romance, which was an absolute dream come true. I am so proud of what we were able to accomplish with such finite resources– two 24 years old filmmakers with less than $100,000. I will always be proud that we went for it and did not wait for someone to hand us an opportunity. I would like to continue to cultivate my positivity, my work ethic, and my genuine love of the days spent on set. If that is what were to proceed my reputation and set me apart from others, I would be forever satisfied.

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
Success to me is joy and happiness in the present moment. Balancing gratitude with motivation, awareness and optimism.

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Alex Phillips Photography (for all portraits) Still from BRINDISI (2019)

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