Robert Nickson

Associate Professor

Photo of Associate Professor Robert Nickson

Biography Robert Nickson is a producer of independent feature films and a founding partner of Orenda Films, an independent feature film production company engaged in production and global distribution of independent feature films. He has been credited as a producer or production controller on eighteen major theatrically released features in the last twenty years. He has intimate knowledge of the legal and financial issues that are involved in feature film production, having produced and delivered films to the international marketplace. He has also served as a consultant on production issues, budgets, financing, guilds and unions, and legal affairs on projects ranging from low budget independents to studio level pictures. He has budget and scheduled 14 studio pictures for preproduction cash flow analysis. He has been a regular participant in international festivals and a participant at the Cannes Festival and market for twenty years. He has had films both in competition and selling in the market.

His theatrically released feature film credits include the films: Do the Right Thing, No Way Home, Curtain Call, Auf Weidersehen Amerika, Mo Better Blues, Search for One-eye Jimmy, Streetsmart, Bloodhounds of Broadway, Jungle Fever, Iron and Silk, Pen Pals, Emperor’s Club, The Beat, Elvis and Anabelle, Anton Chekov's The Duel, The Air I Breathe,and the feature length documentary In Our Hands.

Films he has produced have been in festivals at Deauville, Cannes, Hamburg, Edinburgh, Tokyo, Montreal, Berlin, Sundance and Mannheim. He has worked with many of the film industry’s noted personalities including directors: Spike Lee and Peter Yates; actors: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Halle Barry and John Turturro; and the late distinguished cinematographer Sven Nykvist.

Professor Nickson also frequently teaches international workshops on Independent Feature Production that have been conducted at The Cannes Film Festival, The National Film School of Italy at Cinecitta, Rome; The Eastern European Film Academy, Grozhjan, Croatia; the National Film School of Finland in Helsinki, the Baltic Media Academy, and, the Slovenian Film Academy in Ljubljana. He has been an advisor to the development of producing curricula to the Groupment of European Film Schools as he brings considerable real world producing experience to his teaching activities.

Robert Nickson is known in the industry as a tough but fair negotiator in finalizing contracts and is respected by the craft unions for his contractual knowledge. As a musician, he has played with numerous bands and recorded 7 albums as a member of The Holy Modal Rounders, Michael Hurley's Redbirds, and Automatic Slim and the Fatboys. He has been a sound engineer and produced two albums. He was educated at Dartmouth and received his Master’s of Fine Arts in film from NYU Grad Film where he was a Cinematography major. He is currently based in New York City.


Introduction to Production Management
Budgeting Feature Films
Thesis Production - Advisor
Industry Financing for Feature Films - Ind Study
Developing Novels and Literature into Films - Ind Study


BA - Dartmouth College - Ames Fine Arts Prize
MFA - NYU - Grad Film - Graduate Teaching Fellow
Certificate - Defense Language Institute - Monterey, CA