By Keisha Martin

Lauressa Nicholson, a MFA Thesis student, brought her dramatic film, For a Better Life, from the community in Athens, Ohio all the way to Brooklyn, New York and back again. For a Better Life “…follows the life of Zuri, an immigrant from Guyana, and her Grandmother, a geriatric care worker who immigrated to the US two decades ago, making it possible for Zuri and her sister to immigrate. Zuri works at a small media company where she’s bullied by a colleague and told she does not deserve the job and should go back to where she came from.”

Nicholson drew inspiration for the piece from the real world experiences of immigrants that she has met who are either recent or migrated years ago. “Many Immigrants are being bullied, whether they are here legally or not, and it needs to stop. Immigrants have one major goal: to acquire a better life for themselves and their loved ones. And they work hard to achieve their goals,” Nicholson explains. Additionally, she elaborates, “I knew I wanted to produce a film with the theme of immigration while in my second year and knew I wanted it to be filmed in NY. However, I was back and forth with my concepts and started scripting late summer 2018.”

Creating a film in NY was a large challenge, but Nicholson took it in stride. “I’m always challenging myself and filming away from my comfort zone, Athens, Ohio, was one of the greatest risks I have taken in the program. Putting together a crew and finding the perfect locations took some work, however, my team and I managed to make it work. I’m happy that I took the risk and I can’t wait to share this amazing film with everyone.”

Nicholson expresses her gratitude to the Ohio University School of Film for helping her in the creation of her film, stating that, “OU has assisted me greatly. I used the Red Camera, lights, and other equipment from the film school[’s equipment room]. I’m also a recipient of the Betty Thomas Award, which greatly assisted in making it possible for me to travel to New York to shoot the film. I am thankful and will be forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their amazing film program.”