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Director Biography – Nicole Vanden Broeck (ELLE)

Nicole Vanden Broeck is a French-Mexican filmmaker born and raised in Mexico. She received the FONCA-CONACYT Scholarship to pursue an MFA in Directing at the American Film Institute Conservatory. Her thesis film ELLE (2020) premiered at the Academy-Qualifying 38th Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival and won the Grand Prize Marlyn Mason Award given for new voices, new perspectives by women in film. Her directorial work has screened at AFI FEST, Out On Film, Shorts México, Women in Film & Television, among others.

Prior to her move to Los Angeles, Nicole directed the documentary short CON EL TIEMPO (2017), which won the EcoFilm Festival Grand Prize and the Cinelatino Audience Award at the Hola Mexico Film Festival, as a part of the Tomorrow’s Filmmakers Today program presented by HBO and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. She is featured on the Latinx Directors List and has been recently selected to participate in the BAFTA Newcomers Program. Interested in exploring intimate relationship dynamics through female characters dealing with identity conflicts within the drama genre, she is currently developing two feature scripts and a half-hour series.


Director Statement

I have always believed in the power of cinema to comfort us, to tell us that we are not alone, that others have felt what we’ve felt, that we share our struggles and our heartbreaks, that there is someone out there that understands. I am interested in stories that exist along boundary lines, challenging us to find the humanity in them. Small but sincere truths that involve female characters dealing with misunderstandings, loss of innocence and the journey of awareness and self-discovery.

Longing for someone is an experience we all share as humans. Our own individual way to act on our emotions is what makes it unique, but yet the feeling still remains universal. There are so many ways to express love, but the single action of opening up and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in front of the other is always a courageous act itself. To dare to reach out, to strip down emotionally despite uncertainty, social norms and against all odds. To risk being rejected or being hurt only to offer an honest feeling, I just think that makes love more meaningful, more real.

Loving someone entails giving away part of yourself you lock up from the rest of the world, and when this happens in a close friendship, it takes the relationship to a whole new level of intimacy and complexity. I believe there is certain beauty in realizing how deeply we can feel for someone, how far are we willing to go to unfold those feelings and how, despite the pain that sometimes comes within, opening our hearts just brings us closer to who we are and eventually, to others.

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