2 Minutes With ... Rattling Stick Director Nina Meredith

Inside the documentarian's creative journey

Nina Meredith competed in Division I track and field in college, while also earning a fine art scholarship. In the years since then, she has merged the two disciplines—art and sport—a number of times in her documentary film work.

Her acclaimed short The Margaret Lambert Story profiled the renowned German Jewish high jumper who was barred from competing in Hitler's 1936 Olympics. She is currently at work on a documentary feature, Princess, following the journey of six-time National Boxing Champion and Navajo teenager Mariah Bahe as she aspires to qualify for the USA Junior Olympic team.

One of her most high-profile commercial jobs was also done against the backdrop of the Olympics: She directed Intel's campaign for the opening Olympic Ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018—which documented a world-record-breaking performance of more than 1,200 drones flown simultaneously.

Meredith has filmed in over 30 countries for a variety of world-class brands in recent years, including Nike, Facebook, Levi's, Adidas, BVLGARI, Puma and New Balance. She recently signed to Rattling Stick for commercial representation in the U.S. 

We spent two minutes with Meredith to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired. 

Nina, tell us...

The town where you were born, and where you live now.

I was born in New York City, but raised in beautiful New Jersey. My home base is Asbury Park, New Jersey, but I'm currently quarantined in Joshua Tree, California.

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

A magician, forever and always.

How you discovered you were creative.

I kept many diaries and crafted stories as a teenager. Being able to reflect on my progress as a writer gave me an awareness of the potential for growth. This ultimately led to a curiosity and an appetite to practice other art forms of expression, like photography and filmmaking.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

Harry Houdini.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

Having the only set of keys to the dark room at art school. I became obsessed, spending more time there than anywhere else—hours upon hours each day. 

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

First concert was the Britney Spears "Baby One More Time" tour, and it stayed with me. Musicians I regularly listen to: Stormzy, Rosalía, Kehlani and Billie Eilish. 

Your favorite visual artist.

Cindy Sherman. She's a major influence for me. I remember studying her Untitled Film Stills series in art school and then viewing her exhibit at MOMA. I am completely mesmerized by her originality and craft. I admittedly used to write her fan letters. I also admire Lauren Greenfield.

Your favorite hero or heroine in fiction.

Catherine Tramell from Basic Instinct.

The best book you've read lately.

Educated by Tara Westover.

Your favorite movie.

This changes often, but the constants are The Prestige and Casino. I would also note The Sopranos had a huge impact on me—though a TV series, not a film.  

Your favorite Instagram follow.

@elsableda, @indg0, @maria.svarbova.

How the Covid-19 crisis has changed your life, personally or professionally, in recent months.

It has given me more time to work on personal projects, which includes my first feature documentary and a new short narrative film. And, of course, provided more quality time with my dog Stella. I also announced my recent signing with Rattling Stick (U.S.), which I'm thrilled about. 

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on, and why.

I always go back to one of the very first projects I directed, "Grounded" featuring Michael B. Jordan for Nike. At the time, I was filled with trepidation. Directing one of the most sought-after actors for one of the world's largest brands, the stakes were incredibly high. I had storyboards and a detailed plan, but that didn't stop my nerves from getting to my head. The moment I met MBJ in his trailer, he greeted me with a huge hug and said he was a fan. We bonded over music and our roots in Jersey. That day was incredibly memorable for me and a great learning experience. Definitely a career highlight.

Your favorite creative project from the past year, and why.

I created and directed a series for Vice Nordic called Exhale. The series explores world-class athletes who utilize their lungs in incomparable, superhuman ways. It was a tranquil and meditative journey, which is reflected in the tone and language of the films. I can't wait to get back to work.

Exhale | Diving Deep (trailer)
Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

One of the directors I've long admired is Ringan [Ledwidge]. His "Susan Glenn" ad for Axe resonates. "Susan Glenn" became a phenomenon, a cultural reference and historical touch point in the industry. 

Axe | Susan Glenn
Someone else's creative project that you've been envious of lately.

BRTHR recent 654AR's music video "Yoga." A quarantine classic.

Your main strength as a creative person.

My ability to connect with people. 

Your weakness or blind spot.

The jar of pickles on the crafty table.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Throwing on the potter's wheel, watching Harry Potter films, and making my own films.

One thing that always makes you sad.

The Sarah McLachlan ASPCA ads.

What you'd be doing if you weren't a filmmaker.

A practicing magician, running a dog ASMR YouTube channel, or pursuing an MFA in photography.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and founding editor of Muse by Clio. Prior to joining Clio in 2018, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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