Nile Saulter: Changing the face of Jamaica’s film industry

Nile Saulter aims to evoke emotions through his work. (Photos: Don Waysome)

Whenever Nile Saulter gets behind the camera to create something, he does so with one goal in mind – to evoke different emotions in his audience.

“I want people to feel something. I kinda lean towards the art house style like European filmmaking. It feels different. Emotionally you’re affected in different ways. I rather that than just stuff that is strictly for the adrenaline action,” he told BUZZ

Nile has been making his mark on the film industry.

Nile is just 34 years old, and so far in his career, he has worked on acclaimed Jamaican film, Sprinter, and he has directed two of seven films in the Ring Di Alarm series – namely ‘The Young Sea’ and ‘Coast’- which went on to win numerous awards. 

He has travelled to countries like Brazil, Senegal and Dubai to work. And his latest dive in photography was to direct a shoot for Puma Middle East, which featured fast rising reggae artistes Sevana and Lila Ike.

Nile is undoubtedly a very accomplished filmmaker, who is also making his mark in photography

Nile enjoyed this shoot he did for Puma Middle East. (Photo: nilus1x)

The beginning

His journey into the arts flourished because of his genuine interest in Jamaican life.

“Growing up in Negril, there were certain kinda scenes, where I would see them as a younger youth, they were moviesque. I remember going to the shop and listening to certain conversations and watching all the man dem gathered to watch Western and Kung Fu movies,” he said. 

“Life is interesting, and how you shoot it should enhance that.”

— Saulter

His deep interest in film led him to seek formal training in London, after which he travelled to Los Angeles, New York and Miami to gain experience in the sector. 

But Nile’s desire was to return home to Jamaica to help boost the local film industry.

“I wanted to be here, first and foremost to help build the film industry a little more, and to show all the magic of Jamaica, and its complexity and just everything in my work,” he said.  

Influences

With influences like Steven Soderbergh and Khalil Joseph, Nile has developed his own instinct for showcasing that magic.

Nile tries to showcase the ‘magic’ of Jamaica in films.

“Sometimes it’s how you shoot something as well, like you could shoot something in a very general way like somebody walking down the street. But if just shoot it in slow motion, and if you track the person from behind where you just see their shoulders moving forward, and you set it to a certain kind of soundtrack, it feels very different,” he said. 

His approach to filming is guided by his own fervour for life.

“Life is interesting, and how you shoot it should enhance that. It shouldn’t draw the life out of it,” he said. 

Nile is pleased with the improvements he has seen in Jamaica’s film industry.

And Nile said he’s pleased with the development of the film industry since his return to Jamaica.

“The film industry right now in Jamaica is looking very positive. We’ve been kinda fighting for certain things for a number of years, and now there are big strides being made. There’s more spirit of community that we can get things done,” he said.

He is, therefore, urging filmmakers to take advantage of these changing times and create.

“Build good relationships, keep links with people, be a pleasure to work with. Be open to different ideas and concepts, and be open and interested in the world. Set a standard with the work,” he said.