J.R. Niles is an American Filmmaker, Writer, Director, Poet, Songwriter, Musician and the visionary behind The Hollywood Women's Film Institute and Film Festival. Niles is based in Los Angeles and came out of the LA Rock Music scene of the late 1990s. She began writing and directing films in 2009. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master's Degree in Comparative Politics, both from The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Her early years were spent as an East Coast beach kid, playing guitar and hanging out in New York City. After leaving the East Coast she traveled overseas to Europe and then lived in The Middle East and Singapore, before moving to San Francisco. After a few years in San Francisco she made her way to Los Angeles and found her home in Southern California music culture. Niles comes from a family of numerous jazz artists, who had a great influence on her creative soul. By the late 1990s Niles and her Rock Bands were playing the ROXY and The Whisky A GoGo in Los Angeles. In 2000 Niles Released her CD Edge of The Sky via a small European record label. A few of her songs hit the radio waves in Holland. After the tragic events of Sept 11th 2001, Niles like many others was searching for answers in a world gone mad. This search brought her to academia, a return to school. It was this path which eventually brought her into writing, directing and producing films.
Niles an artistic visionary, began writing and directing films in 2009. Her first two films included, On This Land Kilimanjaro filmed in Tanzania, Africa at Mt. Kilimanjaro and her film on Women of the French Resistance in WWII, The Art of Resistance, filmed in Paris, France. She directed both films during her time at UCLA. In 2012 she directed a documentary on sex trafficking, (Beyond The Silence) filmed in San Francisco, in 2014 she directed a documentary short on the legendary Duke Ellington. Niles has gone on to write, direct and produce both narrative films and documentaries. including her cross genre, dramatic biopic, No Apologies, Writers of Rebellion about playwright Lillian Hellman, which Niles wrote and directed in New York. She is currently directing a feature film and a feature documentary.
Her directorial influences come from across the film spectrum and include Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, John Schlesinger, Ingmar Bergman, Terrence Malick, Mike Nichols, John Ford, Akira Kurosawa, Quentin Tarantino, Chantal Akerman, Wim Wenders, Agnes Varda, Stanley Kubrick, Jean-Luc Godard, Francis Ford Coppola, Sydney Pollack, David Lean, Orson Welles, Frank Capra and John Cassavetes.
LITERARY, PLAY AND SCREENWRITING INFLUENCES
Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, Langston Hughes, Lillian Hellman, Eugene O'Neill, Neil Simon, Tennessee Williams, Henry Miller, John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Richard Brooks, Nora Ephron, Alfred Hitchcock, William Goldman, Sofia Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola, Aaron Sorkin, David Lynch, and Billy Wilder.
Niles is the founder and director of The Hollywood Women's Film Institute and The Hollywood Women's Film Festival, the Director and Executive Producer of the PODCAST and TV/Web Show SHE TALKS CINEMA and the founder of EDGELIGHT FILMS and EDGELIGHT MEDIA. She is an advocate for Anti-Sex trafficking, LGBTQ Rights, Women's Rights, Animal Rescue and habitat protection. Niles is an Environmentalist. As a beach kid, she is a great lover of the sea, sailing, swimming, boating and exploring. She resides in Southern California and San Francisco, calls New York City and Paris, France her other homes, and Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa her heart. She loves hanging out in the South of France and can also be found in her favorite underground Paris jazz clubs.
Niles holds to the idea that "as artists our job is to reflect the times in which we live." "Through our art we are the historians of our times."