Born and raised in St. Gallen, Switzerland, the Nüesch Sisters are an award winning directing duo that grew up with an old school video camera in hand, constantly dreaming up and documenting the world around them. Their mother, a talented painter, and their father, an architect, encouraged them to fearlessly pursue their passion for filmmaking. With design minds that goes beyond cinematography, these women create stylized films that address universal themes from human connection to mental illness.
The Nüesch Sisters studied film in Los Angeles at Art Center College of Design, and in 2016, they started their own Production Company – Nüesch Sisters Productions. Their fashion film Moon Girls was selected by various international film festivals and premiered on Nick Knight’s fashion website SHOWstudio. Their latest short film Forget Me Not won silver at the Young Director Award at Cannes and was selected by numerous international film festivals including the LA Shorts Festival and the HollyShorts Film Festival. Currently they are working on their first feature film.
Upon first glance, some may think these sisters are twins (they aren’t), but the two have distinctly different personalities and talents, which when combined create the opportunity for unparalleled story telling.
Meet Kim: A true Scorpio, when Kim walks into a room, the entire room knows it. With the kind of presence that is unique to celebrities and politicians, Kim exudes the most powerful, dazzling energy. Beyond her brilliant and charming exterior, Kim has the profound ability to see the emotion of a situation and articulate it in words so eloquent they will move you from laughter to tears in the span of a single sentence. Remember the voiceover from our fashion film Woven Into You? That was written by Kim.
Flo wears the Shakti Off-Shoulder Top and Shakti Bikini Bottoms
Meet Flo – the determined daydreamer. As a Capricorn, Flo comes off as the more reserved of the two sisters, but her true voice shines through in her creative body of work. A true visual communicator, everything about Flo is stylized from head-to-toe. With a natural gift for creating impactful as well as subtle imagery, Flo takes notice of the smallest nuances and is able to utilize them to elevate the production quality of each film.
A couple weeks ago I took a road trip with Flo and Kim to the beautiful Post Modern Retreat in Joshua Tree to shoot photos of our latest collection and chat about their film careers under the starlit desert sky. For all of the aspiring creators out there, this conversation is for you.
When did you start making films?
Flo: As long as we can remember, we always had an intense passion for film. When we were eight or nine this first manifested itself in the wish to be in front of the camera, because as little children that role was the most apparent in the process of filmmaking. We starting shooting our own short films on our father’s VHS camera and began to edit them on iMovie, which soon lead us onto our path to becoming directors and writers. Inventing our own stories and telling them through the medium of film came natural to us, and since then we can’t imagine working in any other field.
What inspired you to pursue filmmaking?
Kim: Of course there are a lot of films we loved when we grew up that inspired us to become filmmakers, but the biggest inspiration was our mother. She was an artist herself - she painted and wrote - and she encouraged us to tell our own stories. Even when we played with her, she always insisted on inventing flushed out narratives and exciting characters.
Flo: That’s a very hard question to answer as filmmakers, because there are so many great films that have been made over the years. Atonement by Joe Wright would definitely make our top five list.
Kim: In terms of recent films that we loved, You Were Never Really Here by Lynne Ramsay was fantastic, as well as Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. If you have the time, definitely watch them.
You two are a pretty dynamic duo — on a day-to-day basis, how do you divide up your work load?
Kim: Since we’ve know each other our whole life, working together is very intuitive and doesn’t need much structuring. We usually prefer to collaborate and bounce ideas back and forth, but when the workload is heavy we do divide up the tasks. Flo has an organizational talent and also tends to be pulled toward visual work, while I have a background in screenwriting and favor doing research.
Flo: On set it’s convenient to be two people in the director’s chair and we definitely find ways of using that to our advantage. There’s no general rule on how we divide the work, but for Forget Me Not we had a special circumstance with the film being semi-autobiographical. Because of that, we each concentrated on giving directions to our respective younger self. When we worked with Emily Swallow, who played the role of the mother, we both were very much involved in the process of building her character.
Flo wears the Noor Off-Shoulder Top and Noor Legging, Kim wears the Noor Reversible 4-Way Top and Noor High Waisted Shorts
What does your average day look like?
Flo: One part that we love about filmmaking is that there isn’t really an answer to that question. Depending on the project you are working on and in what stage of the project you are in, our working days can be vastly different. Set work is very physical and fast paced, while post-production is all about details. Currently we are very focused on the feature film script we are writing, which means we work a lot from home on our laptops.
What is your latest film about?
Kim: Forget Me Not is a semi-autobiographical short film about our childhood. In the film, two little girls battle with the disruptions of their lives that is caused by their mother’s bipolar disorder. It’s about the indestructible bond between mother and daughters, as well as the toll mental illnesses can take on a family’s life.
Has mental health always been a topic of interest for you?
Flo: Because of our mother’s illness, mental health as a topic has always been very present in our lives. We believe it is important to raise awareness on the issue, because of how many people suffer from them and because these illnesses affect more than the sick. A big part of the issue is that people feel like they can’t talk about their problem, because mental illnesses are still being stigmatized. That’s why we want to open up the discussion.
Kim: As long as society doesn’t see mental illnesses the same way it looks at other sicknesses, families and people affected will suffer and be left to deal with them on their own.
Where can readers view your work?
Did you always imagine you would work together?
Kim: Yes, we’ve always been inseparable and the idea of that changing anytime soon feels very unlikely.
Do you ever pursue separate projects?
Flo: During film school we experimented with our own projects, but even with those we always were somehow involved in each other’s productions. I don’t see us pursuing separate projects in the future.
Kim wears the Asha Reversible Tie Top and Asha Bikini Bottom, Flo wears the Asha Racerback Bra and Asha High-Waisted Shorts
It can be really tough to collaborate with people you are close to. Do you have any advice for people who are pursuing creative ideas with close friends or family?
Kim: To collaborate in a creative field is definitely tricky, because creative visions can go so many ways. We are lucky to share the same taste and think in a very similar way, but the most important part of a good partnership is trust and honesty. You really need to know the other person has your back and that you can talk things over if your ideas are conflicting. I would say, don’t rush into a creative partnership, but if you find one that works it will be immensely rewarding.
In the theme of Woman Crush Wednesday, who is a woman in your lives that you are inspired by?
Flo: Reed Morano, who is a director as well as a cinematographer, is a huge inspiration to me. She is known for directing the first three episodes of the acclaimed Hulu show The Handmaid’s Tale and designed the cinematic look and pace of the show. She also recently came out with her film I Think We’re Alone Now, which she shot and directed.
Kim: I think Emma Watson is quite the inspiration. She’s a great actress, a beautiful young woman and she stands up for many important causes like stopping violence against women, equal pay and pro choice.
What’s next for the Nüesch Sisters?
Flo: As we mentioned, we are working on a feature film script that we want to direct as well. Instead of us telling a story in the past like we did in Forget Me Not, this film will be set in the future. We also signed with the German production company ANORAK for commercial work and are very excited to be joining such a creative team.
Be sure to go watch Forget Me Not online here and follow The Nüesch Sisters on Instagram @NueschSisters and on Facebook at Facebook.com/NueschSisters
Special thanks to Vanessa of the Post Modern Retreat for providing us with such a beautiful photoshoot location. The Post Modern retreat is available for rent on Air B&B.
About The Author: Kiran Jade
Kiran is the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Wolven. A passionate environmentalist, Kiran believes it is our generation's responsibility to clean up the Earth. You can find her making abstract paintings, cooking up vegan treats and taking photos of her friends.