Formed by filmmaker Vladan Nikolic, Surla Films has produced numerous fiction features, feature documentaries & other projects – among them, one of the first digital feature films, Burn, and one of the first transmedia-related feature films, ZENITH. Combined, these films have won dozens of awards, and screened at distinguished festivals and venues worldwide.
Vladan Nikolic is an award winning filmmaker from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, who lives and works in New York City. Before coming to New York, Mr. Nikolic worked as director for the first independent TV network in Yugoslavia. Since then, Vladan has worked as writer, director, producer and editor on shorts, feature films, documentaries, commercials and music videos. His awards include the TV Sarajevo Award and Zeta Film Award for Best Screenplay, Eastman Kodak Award for his short film Serendipity, Telluride Indiefest Best Film Award for his feature Burn (2001), and others. His first narrative feature film Burn prompted Amy Taubin of the Village Voice and Film Comment to write that “Vladan Nikolic proves himself a director to watch with this intense, nightmare thriller about Yugoslavian refugees in New York.”
His second feature, LOVE (2005) premiered at the Tribeca and Venice film festivals to critical acclaim. It went on to win awards at film festivals in Geneva, Switzerland, Barcelona, Spain, and the Best Director Award at the Tiburon International Film Festival in San Francisco. LOVE opened theatrically to rave reviews and has been released theatrically and on DVD.
In 2010, he wrote, directed and produced the feature ZENITH, which is also part of an extensive trans-media project. The film has been released in a unique and innovative way, combining theatrical, video, and online releases over multiple platforms. In 2011, parts of ZENITH were released through bit-torrents at SXSW, triggering an online sensation. Because of its elaborate transmedia campaign and highly innovative distribution strategy, the film became a cult phenomenon, with millions of downloads online, and notices for its unique and original approach to storytelling, marketing and distribution. The project has been praised as A visually stunning Art-house Blade Runner (Flavorwire) and Nikolic as visionary writer-director by the Los Angeles Times.
Vladan has taught at numerous universities, including NYU and UArts. He has taught the first digital filmmaking class in the 90’s, and, more recently, one of the first transmedia courses. He is Associate Professor at The School of Media Studies at The New School, where he teaches Film Directing, Digital Filmmaking, and Transmedia production.