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Bernard Nicolas

Bernard Nicolas

Bernard Nicolas has written and directed a number of films, including documentaries and short videos.  Born in Port-au-Prince, he and his family fled from the political situation in Haiti and immigrated to San Pedro, California.  The political upheaval he sensed as a student led Nicolas to become co-National Coordinator of the National Association of Black Students.  He obtained his B.A. in Economics at UCLA, where he also earned an M.F.A. in Film and Television Production.

His works include social issue documentaries such as Boat People and Breast Cancer: A Village Dialogue.  The latter film was selected as a finalist for the Beacon Award from the Cable TV Public Affairs Association.  Nicolas also wrote and directed Daydream Therapy (1977), a short film that earned him the Leigh Whipper Gold Award from the Philadelphia International Film Festival.

In the early 1980s, Nicolas moved to Zimbabwe, where he worked in their production services department. In 1992, he founded Inter-Image Video, the first enterprise to commercially release African Cinema on home video in the U.S. He has also served various roles for numerous independent films. In addition to his contributions to film, he continues to pursue his interests in writing, photography and psychotherapy.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti
UCLA, B.A. Economics; M.F.A. Film & Television Production


Film Role(s) Year
Daydream Therapy Daydream Therapy

Bernard Nicolas' Daydream Therapy,set to Nina Simone’s haunting rendition of “Pirate Jenny” poetically envisions a hotel worker’s escape from workplace indignities through vivid fantasy.

Rain Rain (Nyesha)

The political awakening of a female typist is vividly portrayed through Melvonna Ballenger’s use of John Coltrane’s song, “After the Rain.”

Cast 1978
Gidget Meets Hondo (1980) Gidget Meets Hondo

Filmed by Bernard Nicolas in response to the LAPD’s shooting of Eulia Love in 1979, Gidget Meets Hondo asks whether such police brutality would be tolerated if the victim were a middle-class white woman.

Shopping Bag Spirits and Freeway Fetishes: Reflections on Ritual Space (1981) Shopping Bag Spirits and Freeway Fetishes: Reflections on Ritual Space

Barbara McCullough converses with members of L.A.’s vibrant black arts communities to explore the role of ritual in black life and art. Interviews are combined with still photographs, colorful video effects, music by Don Cherry and footage from McCullough’s landmark work, Water Ritual #1:  An Urban Rite of Purification.

Cinematographer 1981
Boat People (1982) Boat People

A Haitian family attempts to escape to the United States in Bernard Nicolas' drama.

Director 1982