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Cinematographer Lidia Nikonova Gets Experimental in 'The Day That'

LOS ANGELES – Award-winning cinematographer Lidia Nikonova gets experimental in the new short film drama “The Day That,” directed by veteran director Dorian Tocker. The film is playing at Rhode Island International film Festival on August 12th.

The Russian-born cinematographer creates visual poetry in the film using a variety of unconventional cinematic techniques to illustrate the emotion and story of a grief-stricken family. Written and directed by Dorian Tocker, known for 2012’s film drama “Everyday Saturday,” “The Day That” tells the story of six family members as they each seek ways to manage their grief after their father’s unexpected death in Tocker’s subtle ode to the beauty of everyday life.

“The film was designed to be a very visual experience with little dialogue and exposition. The challenge was to design the images that convey the emotions and tell the story just as much if not more than dialogue or exposition,” she said. “Both the performance and dialogue were often improvised and so we seldom knew what was about to happen in front of the camera. To me it was a beautiful journey as we had to be open to new ideas and explore what's around us.”

“Lidia has a strong photographic background and a poetic eye,” Tocker said about their collaboration. “I felt her aesthetic would be the perfect match for this film. She brought a range of inspirations to the table, from films to essays to paintings, and her sensibility definitely elevated the visual language of the film.”

“For me it was very important that the lighting in ‘The Day That’ was dramatic and had a character,” Nikonova recalled. “We agreed that the lighting should feel very natural and yet it should externalize the conflicts and thoughts of the characters. My goal was to heighten the sense of minutia, and so we spend a lot of time lighting dust in the air, ants crawling on a plate, a lonely fan spinning endlessly in an empty room.”

Known for her work such recent films as “If This Is Wrong” from director Chelsea Woods, a number of documentaries and music videos including The Weeknd’s recent lyric music video for his hit single “Call Out My Name,” Nikonova is set to begin work on an upcoming feature film later this year.

To learn more, visit or follow her on Instagram at

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