Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Nina Kojima of Partisan Media Is Helping To Change Our World

An Interview With Edward Sylvan


Photo credit: Tomo Brejc

When I started this project? I don’t intend to listen often to what people are telling me. I much rather create my own opinion. By the way, this is why my company is called Partisan Media. You can call me an ego-trip but firstly I trust myself, secondly, I trust my judgment, thirdly I love the arguments and it’s true sometimes I lose a battle or two.

As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Nina Kojima.

Nina is a veteran broadcaster, former TV and Radio journalist, Eurovision Song Contest commentator, TV, and Radio editor. She is a member of No 10 Downing Street Press Lobby. After 22 years of a broadcasting career, Nina continues as a film producer, director, and writer. Her films won multiple awards and are streaming on Amazon.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share your “backstory” that brought you to this career?

From an early age, I was connected with the media world. As a child, I took on various small roles and appeared as extras in TV shows and commercials. Sometimes I didn’t even have a line. My first big appearance was in a kid’s musical on the national TV in Slovenia which became quite successful, which then took me on a tour around the country for two seasons. I had a brief modeling career in my late teens and in my early 20’s I joined Slovenia’s most listened-to radio program Val 202 on the national radio, where I became one of the morning hosts. From this point, my career crossed over to TV and later on to feature documentaries and films.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?

I actually have a really funny one from the TV show, I hope you don’t mind me sharing this one instead. It goes back to 2002 when I was a creator and editor in chief of a weekly TV show Student Street. One of the hosts didn’t come to the make-up unit and I got a call from the producer of the show. I was already in the editorial box, it was 10 minutes before the show went live. I quickly shuffled around the slate and we started with somebody else. In the meantime I sent three journalists to go around the pubs and bars hunting for the missing host; I was convinced we would find him there. After 15 minutes of raiding every pub, the producer found him in a bar right across the street from the TV station — the last one we looked into. When I saw him on the makeup chair I blew up like a pufferfish, I realized this will be a disaster whichever way we go — we cut the show for 15 minutes (for his slot) or we put this drunk man in front of the camera, live to the nation. He looked very bad; with a purple mustache like Salvador Dali (red wine), dark teeth. The make-up lady asked me with a shaky voice; what shall I do? And my answer was; make him exactly who he is, but with a bit of glitter — a Dracula! Minutes later into the show suddenly a Dracula host appears, live! OMG! I had steam coming out from my nose, ears, and throat. I looked on my right and the producer was having his face down holding his ears and I looked left and my assistant’s mouth was wide open…Well we had a Dracula hosting the show that evening! Social media was not ‘operating’ back then…but the newspapers didn’t forget about this. Years later he commemorated this event in his book; this was his ‘grand departure’ from the TV, his last ever appearance on-air.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I quite enjoyed the HM Queen Elisabeth’s Garden Receptions. I attended them during my service as a committee member of the Foreign Press Association. There were so many interesting people there. Oh, actually…I loved my chat with Judy Dench. I met her at the premiere of Philomena, years ago. She played one of the major roles in this heart-breaking story. I was just a member of the public there and she didn’t have to spend much time talking to me, but we really engaged in conversation for quite some time. That evening, her grandson and his friends, who were very young, accompanied her. I would say late teens and I thought this is so amazing, this noble and fantastic actress surrounded by the youths! We talked about films, Phenomena’s life story, art, and life. Another really interesting woman I met at London’s Science Museum when I was covering the press conference was Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. She told me that she still dreams about that flight, constantly, on and on; I thought that sounded wonderful!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Right now we are in post-production of the documentary film Brexit Through the Non-political Glass, a real story of Brexit told by the experts, academics who should have been listened to before the referendum! I also have a feature film in pre-production as well as a TV series Three Little Hearts which has a strong anti-racist message. It is a Sci-fi genre with time travel and the parallel universe and all that, but with different moral lessons in each episode and it is based on my short film Three Little Hearts which is streaming now on Amazon; please watch it.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

History is full of great people and there are many who inspired me; Michelangelo for his beauty, unfinished work but masterpiece at the same time, Neil Armstrong for giving humanity strength and eternity, Nelson Mandela for liberation and freedom, Florence Nightingale for sympathy and care, Golda Meir for giving my ancestor’s life a meaning, Marie Curie for her great discovery, Emmeline Pankhurst for bravery and determination, Fitzroy Maclean for helping Partizan soldiers in Balkans during WWII.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

Aristotle argues that human function is a rational activity, our good is therefore rational activity to perform. Well in contrast to his time the world is quite a different place now and what is good on one side of the world is not necessarily good somewhere else. For example, we love dogs, but on the other side of the planet, they eat them. I live in London and we all love Royal Parks and some of us are happily feeding ducks there but meters away in a restaurant a duck is eaten on Peking or other styles. If somebody is watching us from space (if life as such exists in another galaxy) and if their democracy is built on lees hypocritical criteria they probably don’t want to have any interaction with us. And my latest project…sorry I had to go around a little bit. Brexit; my new feature documentary film we have this dramatic situation with losers on both sides; the EU and the United Kingdom. What is good about that and sorry but figuratively speaking, are we going to eat each other now?

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

To manifest a passion is a very emotional act and it could be very well preserved if you are a singer perhaps. I take things in a less poetic way. I keep the passion for myself, sometimes in fruit juice. I am driven by super-rational decisions, research, examination, no hard feelings. The final trigger for my latest project is the fact that people in Britain are still divided on the subject of Brexit, the same as they were in 2016! I have a fear that Scottish Nationalist could trigger another referendum and Northern Ireland will be united with the Republic. At this point, Brexit creates numerous casualties and we were driven to this by the emotions of some very irrational people.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

This documentary is completely told by academics and professors from the most respected universities in the UK. In a sense, they helped me understand the origin of all this madness. And I hope as many people as possible will listen to them.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Individuals and society can help the most just by watching this documentary. This documentary is not done to favour a government, especially not the current one although in my opinion there was no alternative and they fairly won the elections in 2019!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

When I started this project? I don’t intend to listen often to what people are telling me. I much rather create my own opinion. By the way, this is why my company is called Partisan Media. You can call me an ego-trip but firstly I trust myself, secondly, I trust my judgment, thirdly I love the arguments and it’s true sometimes I lose a battle or two.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Seriously? To Young People? When you are young and somebody gives you a piece of advice you will do the opposite, right? At least that’s how I remember my youth. So…when you are leaving a bar or a house party in the middle of the night, make sure you sing out loud, sing the Eurovision Song Contest Songs from the UK entries of the past 10 years, spend all day long on TIK TOK and other platforms, that’s where the world’s greatest knowledge and achievements are created when you go to the store pay everything with the money from the Monopoly game…

We are very blessed that many other Social Impact Heroes read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would like to collaborate with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

I think Leonardo Di Caprio is definitely one of them, with the great inspiration I am following his environmental agendas, Sir David Attenborough a creator of ecological socialism, I am quite amazed about the space programs, and here are two more to add to my list; Elon Musk and Richard Branson and all the amazing women; HM Queen Elisabeth, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey,

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Failure is not an option; Apollo 13! Gene Kranz and the Apollo 13 Moon Landing faultily quoted this phrase, the reality is that the quote is actually from the script of the 1995 movie Apollo 13. Why I chose this one; film directing to me is almost like a moon landing. A lot of awareness,no emotions, and constant calm. And if things go wrong…then you are Lost in La Mancha!

How can our readers follow you online?

I have never been on Facebook; sorry. Again my Instagram is full of pets but registered on my name, overall I am a private person, a Dinosaur, but very thankful to be in your company at this time.

This was great, thank you so much for sharing your story and doing this with us. We wish you continued success!

About The Interviewer: Growing up in Canada, Edward Sylvan was an unlikely candidate to make a mark on the high-powered film industry based in Hollywood. But as CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc, (SEGI) Sylvan is among a select group of less than ten Black executives who have founded, own and control a publicly traded company. Now, deeply involved in the movie business, he is providing opportunities for people of color.

In 2020, he was appointed president of the Monaco International Film Festival, and was encouraged to take the festival in a new digital direction.

Raised in Toronto, he attended York University where he studied Economics and Political Science, then went to work in finance on Bay Street, (the city’s equivalent of Wall Street). After years of handling equities trading, film tax credits, options trading and mergers and acquisitions for the film, mining and technology industries, in 2008 he decided to reorient his career fully towards the entertainment business.

With the aim of helping Los Angeles filmmakers of color who were struggling to understand how to raise capital, Sylvan wanted to provide them with ways to finance their creative endeavors.



Edward Sylvan CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group
Authority Magazine

Edward Sylvan is the Founder and CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc. He is committed to telling stories that speak to equity, diversity, and inclusion.