Nick Gifford ~ Filmmaker

“His work has to do with precision of understanding and portrayal, humour in both, and fellowship as an ideal.” Peter Sainsbury


From the programme of ICA showings of Nick Gifford films, 1980:

“In parallel with his work in the industry, Gifford has produced a series of quiet,

intensely personal documentaries quite independently financed, researched,

directed, shot and often produced by himself The subjects range from the sale

of a Hereford bull in Wales, through portraits of immigrant families in England

and in India to films on the Pasternak sisters and on Rohan and Druvi de Sarem,

Ceylonese musicians living and working in England.

But the central subject of all the films is the same — loneliness and

dispossession, people living out of place and out of time The films concentrate

passionately on individuals living out of place, out of time They sympathise:

they never patronize

Peter Sainsbury has described Nick Gifford as " the most unassuming of British

independent filmmakers, but his modesty is unlikely to hinder recognition. He

works in a documentary vein, consistently choosing subjects which lie outside

the modishly political and the glibly entertaining. His low key, sympathetic

treatment leads straight to the heart of the matter whether it be the world

experience of a West Indian roadsweeper or the holiday joy of the deeply

deprived. His work has to do with precision of understanding and portrayal,

humour in both and fellowship as an ideal".”

Reviews of ICA 1980 Nick Gifford showings:

"The ICA are to be congratulated for promoting the work of an independent

film maker of this quality." The Sunday Times

" At the ICA there is a series of Nick Gifford documentaries never shown on

television, and far better than most that are. Recommended" The Guardian

"If Gifford were a German, it is extremely doubtful he'd be so little known,

since his talent for observing others with sympathy but without patronage would

be better recognized by television if not by the cinema. The West German

cinema , however, would surely have demanded features from him.

Recommended." The Guardian

" A fascinating series, all the more so since the camera seems to have become so

omnipresent it has been forgotten." The Telegraph

" They are intimate studies, gentle in their pace and informal in their structure,  

which nevertheless convey an intensity of emotion and a sympathetic

understanding of the people he is filming " The Times Literary Supplement

" Nick Gifford's fine slow-burning documentaries all work by the same set of

principles: to get as close to the subjects as possible, but not to use them and to

allow them to speak for themselves — no spurious manufacture of narrative or

"telling" structuralism."


Feller By The

Name Of..

Film Index

Burra Sahib

General Sahib

The Selling

of Monty Rachmaninov

Bitter Thorns

Sid’s Family

A Good Father

Sid’s Children

The Pasternaks

The Pearl

Rest my bones