Gabrielle Nadig grew up with a passion for filmmaking and capturing life on camera.
“I’d always had a personal camcorder,” she said. “I loved filming my friends and family.”
For Nadig, that interest really materialized in middle school and high school. As a student at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, she said, she “really liked working in the theater, but didn’t necessarily like acting.”
Laughing, Nadig said that she even remembers taking a high school class where she would have to edit video on VHS tapes — something she can’t even imagine doing now, over a decade later.
Instead, it was the organizing of the performance and the process of bringing an idea or concept to fruition on stage that Nadig fell in love with and pursued.
After high school, she attended summer filmmaking programs, including one at the University of South Carolina.
“I fell in love with [filmmaking], and I found what I was really interested in.”
Nadig applied early-decision to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for film, thinking that she wanted to direct. She got in. According to Nadig, it wasn’t until college that she discovered her talent for film production.
“I realized that I was really good at producing and hiring people and getting people excited about a film,” she said.
After college, Nadig started a commercial production company in New York called Buffalo Picture House. Her list of clients includes Gucci, Stuart Weitzman, IFC, Etsy.com and the New York City Ballet.
A few years later, in 2012, Nadig was working with a colleague who wrote short narrative scripts. He presented a project to her that, about four years later, would become her first feature film, “King Jack.”
When she read the script, Nadig said she “thought it was a really great script and really doable for a first full-length film.”
So, with that project in mind, she applied to the Sundance Creative Producing lab and spent the next few years working with Sundance as they helped her “fine-tune the script, create selling points for the film and market the movie.”
From there, Nadig said, she was able to find executive producers and directors, and film the movie in less than a year. She and her production team took the finished product and premiered it at the Tribeca Film Festival, to thunderous applause and accolades.
“We were fortunate enough to win narrative audience awards. We had seven sold-out screenings. To screen so many times and have it be sold out at big New York movie theaters rarely happens.”
She added that most small productions with relatively unknown actors and creators now typically go straight to release on streaming sites, such as Netflix.
Her film “King Jack,” however, is now being shown at theaters in Los Angeles and New York. Nadig said that watching her own work on the big screen is “indescribable.”
“When you’re working on something so hard and when you’re watching it as a producer, you see it differently than the audience. You think, ‘Oh, I remember that scene. It was raining and everyone canceled on us.’”
But Nadig said that, despite the “nonsense and craziness” that it takes to bring a project like “King Jack” through from start to finish, getting to sit in a theater and watch the audience go on an “emotional journey with these characters that we just made up, and getting people to laugh or cry with you” continues to fuel her passion for making movies.
Nadig was recently named to a Women at Sundance program, for which she was one of six women chosen for the fellowship. According to Sundance, the program matches female filmmakers from Sundance’s acclaimed programs with industry leaders and decision-makers in a yearlong, individualized fellowship.
She noted that, of all of the commendations both she and her films have received, she is proudest of how supportive Sundance has been of her career. She is also an alumnus of the 2015 Rotterdam Producing Labs and an alumnus of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Producer’s Network.
Of her personal support system, Nadig said that she is grateful to her mother and family for being so supportive of her career.
Dr. Paula Nadig, a pediatrician at Coastal Kids Watch Pediatrics in Millville, summed up her daughter’s accomplishments as only a mother can, saying, “Every parent wants to see their child grow up happy and working toward achieving their goals. I’m fortunate to have a daughter who is self-motivated, hardworking and dedicated to excellence. Watching Gabrielle succeed as a filmmaker, a business owner and a Woman of Sundance is a joy and an inspiration to me. I couldn’t be happier or prouder!”
“King Jack” is available to watch now on Amazon.com and iTunes and, according to Nadig, is coming soon to a Netflix queue near you.