Grove City College student Nicholas Mullins ’21 wrote, filmed and produced a documentary on a French painter that is now showing around the country and winning accolades.
“Tous Les Jours” is a 13-minute film shot in Newfoundland, Canada, as Mullins followed artist Jean Claude Roy for 10 days, discovering and documenting his daily life.
“I have a passion for telling people’s stories, which developed into a love for documentary film,” Mullins said.
Mullins’ work has been embraced by exhibitors of Roy’s work and cinephiles. “Tous Les Jours” was shown earlier this month during Roy’s Exhibitions by Kessler tour of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina. It won the People's Choice award at James River Film Society Short Film Showcase hosted by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and is nominated for best student film at Pennsylvania Indie Short Film Festival and best documentary at The Monthly Film Festival November competition.
Mullins downplays his role the positive reception his film has received. “God has a way of doing unexpected and wonderful things. I'm simply thankful,” he said.
“Tous Les Jours” – or “All the days” – is a fitting title for the film, which was officially released Nov. 16 on Vimeo and Amazon Prime. The film is also available on DVD, along with five additional videos of Roy painting around Newfoundland.
Mullins, of Savannah, Ga., grew up with a love for making films and a fascination with a painting by Jean Claude Roy in his family’s home. He started filming with his dad’s camcorder at the age of seven, and eventually made his first short film his sophomore year of high school. Still admiring Roy, he had the idea to combine his two interests and spent a month crafting a pitch for a documentary of the artist. He called Roy’s wife out of the blue. She and her husband agreed to his idea and Mullins headed for Newfoundland.
“I wanted to do it so badly, I didn’t realize how weird it was till I was on the plane,” he said. He spent 10 days following Roy’s life from his first sip of morning coffee to his last shoelace untied at the end of the day. Mullins gathered 23 hours of footage which showed Roy’s typical day: get up, load his van with supplies and drive anywhere from a few minutes to up to nine hours away to paint a scene in Newfoundland.
“Every town and country have beautiful stories like Jean Claude's, as he says in the film, ‘you just have to look to find it’,” Mullins said.
Mullins decided to not pursue formally study film in college, but he continues to learn about the art in his Communication and Visual Arts studies at Grove City College.
Though Mullins did the film project entirely independently, he credits faculty and fellow students at Grove City College for their help in planning, reviewing and critiquing his work, in particular recent alumna Hannah Stiller ’19, who reviewed early cuts of the film and Gregory Bandy, associate professor of Communication and Visual Arts, who provided technical assistance.
For more about Communication and Visual Arts at Grove City College, visit www.gcc.edu/comm.