Nikki Tarro, Idyllwild Arts Academy filmmaker senior, speaks about her journey as a storyteller at Idy Talks on Thursday.
Photo by Marshall Smith

Denver native and Idyllwild Arts filmmaker Nikki Tarro is the next speaker at the Idyllwild Arts Academy’s Art in Society series, Idy Talks.

“The series was designed to connect the school to the community of Idyllwild,” said Eduardo Santiago, IAA faculty member and Art in Society coordinator.

Nikki is a third-year senior at the academy and is in the throes of preparing her cap film — her senior thesis. Her film, “Honey,” for which she wrote the script and is directing, is topical and current. It centers around the mistaken shooting of a girl’s father at her doorstep, caused by a misunderstanding of his purpose at his daughter’s door. He had forgotten his keys and was knocking loudly because his daughter was playing music that prevented her hearing his knocking. “It was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Nikki. The film was shot on location in Santa Monica. “I took a crew of eight and hired actors from L.A. …

“I’ll talk about my journey as a storyteller, the film I’m making and the films I want to make,” said Nikki, who is articulate and deft in discussing her history and her craft. “I was a weird and artistic child,” said Nikki, as she recounted her childhood artistic evolution. “I wanted to be a songwriter and wrote an album when I was 11. I also explored fashion design, acting and theater.”

At the age of 12, Nikki won 14th place in an international film competition for a documentary she wrote and directed about a community service project in which she had been involved. In eighth grade, she was part of an acting improv team that won first place in a prestigious competition.

Nikki also will discuss the summer volunteering she and her family have done in Mexico at an orphanage for disabled children, and how that has informed her writing and filmmaking.

Since a major purpose of the Idy Talks series is to familiarize community members with the rigors of artistic and academic student life at Idyllwild Arts, Santiago suggested Nikki discuss her weekly schedule.

“We prepped and filmed from 2 to 8:30 every day,” she said. “On Friday, our schedule was from 2 to 10:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. until dinner, with a break, and then, if needed, a night shoot.”

To get an insight into the workings of one of the academy’s most productive departments, and through Nikki’s recounting, begin to understand the difficulty of shooting a student film on location, be sure to attend Idy Talks is from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Town Gallery in Oakwood Village on North Circle.

There is no charge for admission and the community is encouraged to attend.