Local Actress/Film Producer Nominated for Award

By Wilma Allen

This Sunday, Amelia Islander Sinda Nichols will be rubbing elbows with stars in Santa Monica, California, for the 39th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards. Her film, “The Artifice Girl,” is a nominee for the John Cassavetes Award, which honors films produced for less than $1 million.

“The Artifice Girl” is a sci-fi drama/thriller exploring the use of fast-growing AI technologies and the ethical questions surrounding them. Nichols plays Deena Helms, a no-nonsense NGO investigator, trying to catch predators online using a computer-generated child, Cherry, as bait. Over time, Deena and the other characters, including Cherry, grapple with doubts and emotional uncertainty about their work.

The film, which premiered last year, has won several awards and received positive reviews. RogerEbert.com called it “mentally engaging and challenging.” The New York Times described it as a “movie entirely about ideas.”  Variety said it is “engaging food for thought.” Critics at Rotten Tomatoes rated it 91% on their ‘Tomatometer.” And NPR called it “one of the best movies of 2023.”

Nichols is well known in our local arts scene. The Michigan native moved here in 2008 with her husband, violin maker Will Howery. Among many other roles, she starred as the 19th-century poet Emily Dickinson in “The Belle of Amherst,” and 20th-century advice columnist, Ann Landers, in “Lady with All the Answers.” Both of these solo, sold-out performances were reproduced elsewhere in and outside Florida.

Beyond Amelia Island, Nichols has worked on numerous regional productions including several with Franklin Ritch, writer/director of “The Artifice Girl,” who cast her as Deena Helms. But acting on stage and in film is not her only talent. She is a popular storyteller and acting coach for other performers. She has held storytelling workshops, and voice acted in several anime productions, most notably as Priscilla ASAGIRI, teenage protagonist of the TV series “Bubblegum Crash” and “Bubblegum Crisis.”

If you want to experience the thrill Sinda Nichols may be feeling in Santa Monica this weekend, you can watch the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25 on Film Independent’s YouTube channel and IMDB.com. “The Artifice Girl” can be viewed on AppleTV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services.

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Lyn Pannone
Trusted Member
Lyn Pannone(@lyn-pannone)
1 month ago

It would be nice if the film were shown locally.

Jo-Ann Leimberg
Active Member
Jo-Ann Leimberg(@jo-ann-leimberg)
1 month ago

Congratulations, Sinda!