Under the Spotlight: Nina Yndis and Sophia Carr-Gomm
Alumni Nina Yndis (BA Musical Theatre 2014) and Sophia Carr-Gomm (BA Acting 2013) have performed on stage and screen since graduating from Scotland’s national conservatoire. Now the pair are using their versatility and industry knowledge to establish their own film company, developing unique, innovative content. Mark Good finds out more.
Tell me about the origins of Certain Light Films.
NY: We met at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. A few years after graduating we decided we wanted to make films together. Sophia had just directed The Wider Sun and I was keen to try producing. With a shared passion and similar vision we decided to work together and founded Certain Light Films Ltd in 2018, aptly named after our first film together.
We aim to produce purposeful, distinctive and original projects that are built for the age of digital film distribution; short films, documentaries, music videos, TV series and feature length narratives.
How did The Wider Sun come into being?
SCG: I had the idea a year after a close friend passed away. The idea for the film just came and I wrote it, crowdfunded to make it, co-produced it and directed it so it all snow-balled from there.
The film is inspired by having lived in Scotland and falling in love with the landscape, music and folklore which I had been told since I was a child. Nina saw the first film and decided she wanted to team up to make more great movies.
What are your hopes for both the film and your company over the coming months?
NY: We have a shoot in December for a short based in London that fellow Royal Conservatoire graduates Samuel Keefe and Ruby Richardson have written and co-produced, which will be submitted to festival rounds, along with another short due to shoot in the springtime in the Lake District. We are focusing on making these next two shorts on our slate, building as a company and working our way up to our first feature film. We will be attending the European Film Market and pitching some feature ideas too.
How do you look back on your studies at the Royal Conservatoire?
SCG: Training as an actor at the Royal Conservatoire was invaluable. I learned a lot about the craft and many life lessons. It informs me now as a director.
NY: I look back with happiness and nostalgia. Those three years were some of the most fruitful years for me as an actress, artist and individual. My time there was indispensable and I miss the city and people a great deal.
What were some of the highlights from your studies?
NY: Working in a building with people of all different disciplines and talents was amazing and great for the future when collaborating on films. The amenities and the teachers are fantastic too.
How did those student days help equip you with the skills and approach to succeed in the industry?
SCG: Being in Scotland meant you had the space to focus on your studies and not be too side-tracked by a stressful and competitive London scene. You could really give yourself the time to learn and grow.
The courses are very intense and really challenge you in many different ways, which help shape you both as an artist and a person.
Tell me about some of the projects you have been involved with since graduating?
SCG: As an actor, I performed in Shetland, Mr Selfridge, Inbetweeners 2, Doctors and The Cardinal at The Southwark Playhouse. I now assist an executive producer who works on feature films internationally and I direct.
NY: I acted in Peaky Blinders, X Company, Five by Five, Casualty and Call the Midwife. I also toured the UK with a play called Narvik which won UK theatre awards last year, with plans now under way to turn it into a movie.
As a producer I’m currently sourcing funding for our next short film which we will be shooting in spring, helping out with Nobody’s Darling and planning the development of Narvik. I also work as a voice-over artist for videogames and audiobooks.
What would you say to anyone considering following in your footsteps?
NY: It’s important not to wait for anything to come to you because you’ll be waiting a long time. You have to be proactive and fearless. Involve yourself in projects that inspire you and challenge you.