Nicola and Teena Collins

Nicola and Teena Collins

Despite having a successful career as a model and appearing in Guy Ritchie's Snatch working behind the camera has always been the dream of first-time filmmaker Nicola Collins.

And after a three and a half year journey she has finally completed her debut movie The End which is released this week.

I caught up with her to talk about her film, that looks at those behind crime in the East End, and what lies ahead for her.

Your new movie is The End can you tell me a little bit about it?

It is basically a film about the East End of London after World War II and the underworld that was created by a certain group of guys, and my father happens to be one of the guys and that's how I got the access to all of them.

Like you say the film looks at the infamous East End so what made you want to make this movie?

I didn't know I wanted to, I knew I wanted to make a film, and I was in Los Angeles, where I have lived for six years with my sister, and when you look for inspiration for something it's funny how you always seem to go back to your own doorstep, well I certainly did anyway.

And I was looking at movies that were inspired by these guys, all the gangster things and stuff, and while I have nothing against them I do feel that they are a little one dimensional and they only show these guys in one light.

Obviously I had seen these guys in many different ways and I just wanted to make a film that portrayed that so the viewer was getting a very honest portrait of these guys.

How difficult was it for you to shoot the movie having to listen to your father talk about this way of life?

It's funny because it's kind of a double edged sword because some of the stuff I didn't like hearing and some of the stuff I loved hearing but I'm a filmmaker so I had to numb myself to what I was hearing to get the best stuff possible. Some of the stuff wasn't pleasant at all and some of the stuff was amazing.

Surprisingly I found the film very funny.

Yeah they are very charismatic aren't they? They can tell a story.

And how keen were the likes of Victor Dark , Mickey Goldtooth and your father to talk about their past?

I think it was a matter of as soon as a couple of the guys had done it then they would all jump on. I didn't get very preparation time at all actually I just had a mini DV camera and first of all they would all act quite posh, putting on their best phone voice, and we would say that you have got to be yourself for this to work 100% you. We spoke to them for a little while and then you start getting to the really good stuff.

This is discussed very early on in the film these guys are perceived as gangsters and the East End was full of violence so what kind of message or image were you trying to portray with The End?

Well when you see other gangster movies I think it has a different impact on you they are the movies that you walk away from and guys maybe want to be a gangster or want to imitate it because it kind of glamorises it.

I wanted to show the honest side of these guys they are very regretful and very heartfelt and it was these many layers that I wanted to show. When they talk about prison there is darkness there and it's pretty intense and when they talk about being poor they are probably the happiest they are in the whole movie, which is very strange.

So I just wanted to show the many different layers and hopefully when viewers finish watching the film they have a better understanding of these guys as humans just these one dimensional bad guys.

How much of the film did you have to leave on the cutting room floor?

Well I had to leave a lot of it because I could only make an eighty three minute film,  I mean there was nothing that I couldn't put in because it was convicting, it was very difficult to leave thing on the cutting room floor because there was so much great stuff. I think Matty actually told me about fifty stories that were all equally as funny as the last so it was hard to let go of certain footage but you have to.

And why did you decide to shoot in black and white?

I'm a huge film geek and the movie The Seven Samurai really inspired me a lot, I feel like it sends a similar message in a really weird way, that's black and white and John Cassavetes shot in black and white a lot of the time and they are the filmmakers that inspire me.

This film is more of a portrait of these guys, I would say, it's not a fly on the wall documentary you can't follow true gangsters around on their day to day activity. So I felt that it was a portrait and they look good in black and white, they have very black and white mentalities there is not may grey areas with them so it made sense.

When the credits rolled, for me anyway, I couldn't help but like these guys so what was your personal opinion of them having listened to everything that they said?

Well there is no escaping that they have done some bad things in their lives but I judge people on how they are to me and they are nothing but respectful, sweet, nice guys. They have never done anything to hurt my family and I know that they would protect us so I think it's the kids out on the streets these days that do it for nothing, just for the thrill of it.

And how aware were you of this world when you were growing up?

Not very aware as my dad never told us stories of what he was doing, he never mentioned anything to us he was just dad he was very very normal to us. It was only other people really that told us stories, we found out from other people and reactions from certain people.

But it never really effected me, although sometime I think that people want to hear stories of struggle from me and misery and pain for growing up with a father like this but it really didn't effect me.

I think that the only reason why he did the things that he did was to get him out of poverty and once he had done that with his life there was no need to carry on or involve us in that he kind of eliminated it from ours as well.

So did your opinion of your father change at all during the filming process?

No, not at all because he was still kind of mucking around, he couldn't be serious, and to me he was still dad and I love him more than anything and nothing can change my opinion of him.

You began your movie career acting in Snatch so what made you want to move behind the camera?

Well we never actually wanted to be in front of the camera to be honest with you it was just something that happened. We modelled for years but that was never a dream we just did it and we started to do well at it and we were travelling the world and making a lot of money so we just carried on doing it and then Guy Ritchie wrote a part for us in Snatch, and who is going to refuse that?


That was so much fun, but I have been a photographer since I was fourteen so I always knew that I was going to do something behind the camera.

How did you find the whole filmmaking process?

Shooting the film and making it, cutting the film and working with the composer it was fabulous just fantastic, it took three and a half years of my life and I found out a lot about myself in the process as it was very challenging at times, especially being a first time female filmmaker, but I overcame every hurdle and stayed true to myself and what I wanted and got there in the end.

And your sister Teena produced The End so what was it like living with her and working with her?

She supports me 100% I couldn't have done it without her as she went and raised the money for it, she found a financier out of Germany that financed the film, and she made sure that I made the film that I wanted to make so she had my back. It was just great to have around as she was my rock.

You said that the film took three and a half years to make so how difficult was it to get the film financed and distributed?

It actually, I would say, six weeks to shoot the film and when I got it back the big hold up was finding the right people to edit the film and the right people to do the music for the film to get the look of the film, I had a definite set in my mind of what I wanted and I didn't want to rush it out I wanted to create a piece of art.

That is really what took the time, finding the right team, the finance came really really quickly I cut together a teaser trailer and we were financed off the back of that. But it was really finding my team that were going to get me through this process and in the end I did, they were fantastic.

Finally what's next for you?

We are actually doing a script that's written by David Lynch's daughter Jennifer Lynch, who is such an amazing woman and so talented, and it's about twins so it's another thing that is close to my heart so we are going to believe in it and I'm really excited about it.

The End is released 1st May

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

Despite having a successful career as a model and appearing in Guy Ritchie's Snatch working behind the camera has always been the dream of first-time filmmaker Nicola Collins.

And after a three and a half year journey she has finally completed her debut movie The End which is released this week.

I caught up with her to talk about her film, that looks at those behind crime in the East End, and what lies ahead for her.

Your new movie is The End can you tell me a little bit about it?

It is basically a film about the East End of London after World War II and the underworld that was created by a certain group of guys, and my father happens to be one of the guys and that's how I got the access to all of them.

Like you say the film looks at the infamous East End so what made you want to make this movie?

I didn't know I wanted to, I knew I wanted to make a film, and I was in Los Angeles, where I have lived for six years with my sister, and when you look for inspiration for something it's funny how you always seem to go back to your own doorstep, well I certainly did anyway.

And I was looking at movies that were inspired by these guys, all the gangster things and stuff, and while I have nothing against them I do feel that they are a little one dimensional and they only show these guys in one light.

Obviously I had seen these guys in many different ways and I just wanted to make a film that portrayed that so the viewer was getting a very honest portrait of these guys.

How difficult was it for you to shoot the movie having to listen to your father talk about this way of life?

It's funny because it's kind of a double edged sword because some of the stuff I didn't like hearing and some of the stuff I loved hearing but I'm a filmmaker so I had to numb myself to what I was hearing to get the best stuff possible. Some of the stuff wasn't pleasant at all and some of the stuff was amazing.

Surprisingly I found the film very funny.

Yeah they are very charismatic aren't they? They can tell a story.

And how keen were the likes of Victor Dark , Mickey Goldtooth and your father to talk about their past?

I think it was a matter of as soon as a couple of the guys had done it then they would all jump on. I didn't get very preparation time at all actually I just had a mini DV camera and first of all they would all act quite posh, putting on their best phone voice, and we would say that you have got to be yourself for this to work 100% you. We spoke to them for a little while and then you start getting to the really good stuff.

This is discussed very early on in the film these guys are perceived as gangsters and the East End was full of violence so what kind of message or image were you trying to portray with The End?

Well when you see other gangster movies I think it has a different impact on you they are the movies that you walk away from and guys maybe want to be a gangster or want to imitate it because it kind of glamorises it.

I wanted to show the honest side of these guys they are very regretful and very heartfelt and it was these many layers that I wanted to show. When they talk about prison there is darkness there and it's pretty intense and when they talk about being poor they are probably the happiest they are in the whole movie, which is very strange.

So I just wanted to show the many different layers and hopefully when viewers finish watching the film they have a better understanding of these guys as humans just these one dimensional bad guys.

How much of the film did you have to leave on the cutting room floor?

Well I had to leave a lot of it because I could only make an eighty three minute film,  I mean there was nothing that I couldn't put in because it was convicting, it was very difficult to leave thing on the cutting room floor because there was so much great stuff. I think Matty actually told me about fifty stories that were all equally as funny as the last so it was hard to let go of certain footage but you have to.


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