Nick Pilarski

Spring, 2023

Nicholas Pilarski is an award-winning filmmaker that co-creates in film, music, animation, and interactive media. His work attempts to dismantle traditional production pipelines, venues, systems, and economies - focusing on the process of artmaking over products. The stories he co-creates all, in some way, attempt to address issues relating to poverty and class-based trauma that has been historicized. He makes art that is not “about” communities, but rather “of” them - helping build ecosystems where traditional lines between subject/author, teacher/student, and spectator/producer are intentionally contested and reimagined. By developing technology with the communities he partners with to tell stories, Pilarski materializes and helps envision alternatives to the larger media structures that often define our diverse landscapes.

Pilarski has been profiled as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Cinema and his work has been identified as a leader in community-created practice by the MIT Co-Creation Studio and the Ford Foundation. The collective he co-founded and co-directs, Peoples Culture, has been nominated for the Tim Herightenton Trust’s Visionary Award three years in a row for their peacemaking and community visioning work in localities of geographic conflict. 

Pilarski is currently an active advisor for NYC’s Mayor’s Office of Technology and Neighborhood Innovation and the Center for Court Innovation. In this role, he focuses on advocating for community storytelling as a way to explore policy and development solutions that lead to upward mobility and increased stakeholdership. 

His work has appeared in The New York Times, MoMA, Eye Institute Netherlands, the U.S. Department of Interior and Education, Full Frame Documentary Festival, Aspen Shortfest, Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, Gene Siskel Film Center, MIDBO Documental de Bogotá, Athens International Film Festival, Human Rights Film Festival NYC/Paris/Barcelona, Festival International du Film PanAfricain de Cannes, Ann Arbor Film Festival, DOXA, and is archived at the Smithsonian: National Museum of African American History and Culture and Duke University.

He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Duke University.