Film Courage: Pete, did you used to watch the TV show COPS?
Peter Nicks: You know…I watched a little bit of it. Like I’m sure everybody has seen a little bit of it, but once you’ve seen a guy take his shirt off and jump a fence and run through somebody’s backyard, you’ve basically seen COPS. So yeah…I’ve seen it and it’s part of the grammar of non-fiction storytelling. It was one of the early reality shows (actually I think that and THE REAL WORLD maybe?). And everyone brings up COPS when they hear about our project.
Film Courage: From the few times that you did watch COPS to now spending (what is it) two and a half years with the Oakland Police Department?
Peter Nicks: Three years almost.
Film Courage: Okay, so three years spent with the OPD, doing ride-alongs, and then comparing it to the TV show COPS, which is sort of this glorified look but also “ha-ha isn’t this funny.” When you’ve been on ride-alongs and had your life basically on the line filming.
Peter Nicks: One of the things we were trying to articulate when we’re trying to get access, because a big part of non-fiction filmmaking is about access and you can’t write these stories you have to document…(Watch the video on Youtube here).
About the film:
At a powderkeg moment in American policing, The Force goes deep inside the embattled Oakland Police Department as it struggles to confront federal demands for reform, the rise of Black Lives Matter and an explosive scandal.
PETER NICKS Director, Producer, Cinematographer:
Peter Nicks is an Emmy Award winning shooter/director known for his courageous cinema vérité style. He directed/produced The Waiting Room, which was released theatrically in 2012 to critical acclaim and won numerous awards including the Truer Than Fiction Independent Spirit award. Nicks is a 2015 United States Artist Fellow in the midst of his trilogy of timely, immersive films exploring the interconnected narratives of health care, criminal justice and education in Oakland, CA.
THE FORCE in Theaters September 15th, 2017
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