Synopsis: Jacqui Zwiren, a rogue intellectual/artist, known to roam the streets of Los Angeles, stars in the documentary directed by her sister, Nicole. In her efforts to become a Buddhist nun, Jacqui plans to shave her head. Jacqui wants to buy a wig to hide her shaved head from her family who will have a conniption if they see her with no hair. Despite her attempts to prevent Jacqui’s ordainment as a nun, her traditional Jewish grandmother from New York is unknowingly aiding in her endeavor by putting her up in her very own apartment room in Korea-Town within walking distance of a Buddhist temple. As Jacqui dives into nun garb, she flirts with all religions, and her mental instability steers her onto an unexpected path.
Nicole’s sister Jacqui was always the one who inspired Nicole and kept her mind churning. Despite the diagnosis of Schizoeffective disorder, Jacqui’s mind was brilliant and she was the real director of the documentary, “The Gods As My Friends.” Nicole was just a vessel through which Jacqui’s spirit worked to complete the film. Nicole wants to use this film to help promote Jacqui’s ideas about spirituality and the preservation of the soul. Jacqui believed the most important thing to have in this life was spiritual friends. Nicole believes this message will help prevent many suicides like the one Jacqui committed.
Nicole Zwiren is a Los Angeles native who worked professionally as a sound-mixer and designer from 2009 to 2019 and has been involved in the film industry for over ten years. She has experience in low budget indies as well as working on top shows like the new Twin Peaks and Supergirl.
After graduating Cum Laude from UCLA, Nicole graduated with her Master in Fine Arts from Dodge College of Film and Media Arts (Chapman University graduate school) majoring in Sound Design. She won the Cecil Graduate Award for Best Sound Design for her thesis film, “Jeremy,” about a boy discovering his religion. She made a short documentary while at Chapman called “Denialism, the Death of AIDS,” narrated by Ed Asner, which won the award for “Best Documentary” at the Student International Film Festival, Hollywood in 2010. She later went on to make the feature-length film “Behind the Fear, the hidden story of HIV,” (also narrated by Ed Asner) which premiered at the Awareness Festival in Los Angeles, received a “Making a Difference” award at the Commffest Film Festival in 2016 in Toronto, and won Best Documentary at the Cinema New York City Film Festival in 2016.
Nicole released a 14 track country rock album in 2009 with her late sister Jacqueline Zwiren entitled “Glued to the Nude.” Nicole also sings on the credit song in the 2018 film “The Quality of Love,” Directed by her husband Bruno Kohfield-Galeano.
Nicole is also known for her charitable work, volunteering for various community organizations and programs as well as organizing some of her own. She was Co-Chair for the South Robertson Green Team in 2015 and created the event, “Basketball for Peace” in 2015.
She has now taken up a new career path as a union electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 11, Inside Wireman Classification.
Straight Jacket Guerilla Film Festival - United Kingdom - 2020
Loved it. Loved Jacqui, and wished I had known her. Recognized how she was bursting with talent and joy. Great structural progression leading our emotions where they need to be, when they need to be. - Carol Sevilla, Email
It is a remarkable story of one Jacqui Zwiren. The anguish, the struggles, the creativity and the inner conflict take the breath away. The documentary serves as a tribute to her and a reflection of her sister’s love, too. I hope many sit down and take a view.
There are many Jaquis in the world. - Christopher Titmuss, Email