WHERE IS NANCY - JAN2020-2.jpg

An Exclusive Interview with its
Director, Editor and  Cinematographer


By Iride Aparicio

Thiago Dadalt    All photos Courtesy:  IMD

SILICON VALLEY--  THIAGO  DADALT  does  not need introduction in the world of  cinematography. The writer, editor, director  and cinematographer  from Brazil is well known around the world  from his multiple  awards in Films' Festivals,  among  them the prestigious prize for the most 'Impactful short film'  at the Hollywood film festival 2018, on Paramount studios in L.A.

DADALT  began his career in Brazil, writing  and directing plays before going  into films in 2007, when he wrote "The postman" which he produced  and directed when he was  22 years old.  In  2018,  he wrote "Chocolate," a film about a woman with the early onset of Alzheimer's disease. The film was officially selected in 34 Festivals worldwide and won fourteen awards from the festivals, and was an Oscar® qualified in 2018.  We can predict that this year, if nominated, the impacting effect he produced in his directing, editing and cinematography  of his  feature documentary "Where is Nancy?," the true story of a brilliant women with early onset of Alzheimer which  goes missing in Los Angeles, may get DADALT the coveted Hollywood icon.

In an exclusive phone interview,  CULTURAL WORLD  BILINGUAL   asks THIAGO  to  describe his work in  "Where is Nancy?"

T.D.  "I  am the  producer, director, editor and cameraman in the film. DRU MILLER is the Executive  Producer  of the film. And

D. ELLEN MILLERProductions ( is the production company which made it possible.

C.W.B. Have you made documentaries before?

T.D. No. This is my first one. I grew up in Brazil, I am from Brazil, and when I was fourteen years old I began writing and directing theatre in my little town but I was always involved in comedy. But when I moved to the USA and I started working (in Los Angeles) doing pilots and   I found out that comedy here is completely different  than our comedy and because of the language barrier and because drama is my favorite type of of film, I started writing dramatic stories and editing myself.

C.W.B. Did your film school in Brazil train you to accomplish the seamless editing you did in "Where is Nancy?"

T.D: "I never went to Film school in Brazil, but I was lucky enough, when I was eighteen years old, to move to Sâo Paulo, which is a huge city in Brazil, and start working in a production company that made commercials. I was hired as the assistant Editor, so I learned editing there. It was a very interesting experience, because when I started working I was told that I have to learn to tell a story in thirty seconds and I never thought that I was going to be able to do that. But looking back, I could say that my job was the best school I ever had because from there on I became Assistant Director, so I was always editing my own stuff. It was there that I learned a lot about all the software (Avid, Final Cut, Premiere pro) and everything about editing, for five years, under the supervision of the greatest directors.

C.W.B.  "How did the story of "Where is Nancy came about?

T.D. "That will be a long answer.  When I was writing films, I wrote "Chocolate." My intention was to focus my film on a person (a housewife)  with a great life who becomes homeless, (because of something beyond her control) and put the audience in that situation. But when I went to an Alzheimer 's organization in Los Angeles wanting to get feed-back on  my project, they didn't like my script. They told me that the story in "Chocolate," was not accurate because no one could go missing for more than two days in L.A. But because "Chocolate" was a fictional story, I and Dru (Executive Producer) decided to keep going and make the film.

A few months later, before we were going to have a Premiere of "Chocolate," at the LANDMARK THEATRE, in Los Angeles, PIERCEY DALTON, the lead actress of the film, texted me a flyer with a picture of NANCY PAULIKAS on it, under the word MISSING and she said to me: "Look it is happening." After that, she called the telephone number in the flyer and volunteer to get involved in the search for the missing person.

Dr. and Mrs. PAULIKAS  the missing women's parents in "Where is Nancy?"

Piercey invited the family to the Premiere and Kirk Moody, (Nancy's husband) came to watch "Chocolate" and loved the film. I met the PAULIKAS (Nancy's parents) and we decided to help each other. After that, every time I screened "Chocolate" in a theatre, they came to the screening and talked about Nancy and distributed flyers. We became very close. I believed that they would find their daughter very soon, but it did not happen. 

Almost a year later I became aware of the great unbelievable story that was happening in front of me and  I decided to make a documentary about it. The PAULIKAS were very open to have me (with a camera) with them and get  involved in their search.

Looking back, I don't believe that anybody could imagine how painful it must have been for them to have your daughter go missing. But they have determined  that to keep their daughter's  story alive they needed publicity, because three months after Nancy went  missing, the news people did not want to talk about Nancy anymore.

Volunteers who for months cooperated in the search for Nancy

As a documentary, "Where is Nancy?," is a story with a beginning a middle and an end. In its editing, the story moves seamlessly. In its subject matter, the story is very moving because of the universality of Alzheimer, as a disease, combined with the story of a missing person.  To the audience, the story becomes alive, because DADALT's editing let the audience know Nancy.   From the time her parents moved to Los Angeles when she was little girl. When she learned to read when she was two years old. When she got her Pilot's license. When she graduated as a Technical Engineer from UCLA. When she began working in High Tech. When she got married and one morning with her husband Kirk, after visiting  the LACMA museum, she walked out into Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, and went missing.

Kirk her husband and Nancy

C.W.B.  As a documentary, I think that Nancy is perfect.

T.D. "Thanks. When I began the film, I did not know how the film was going to come about because it is my first documentary and working on a documentary is a completely different thing. But I was determined  to tell Nancy's  story the way it happened and  move  the audience with the narrative, so this is how "Where is Nancy?" came about. I am also very happy that it is going to be premiered in CINEQUEST.

C.W.B.  Why did you selected CINEQUEST  for the world's Premiere of " Where  is NANCY"?

T. D.  "I have been in many film festivals before and I always heard from all the film makers about CINEQUEST being  among  the best films' festivals, so CINEQUEST was always in my radar. When I finished "Nancy," I began thinking that because NANCY PAULIKAS, the woman the documentary is about, was such a brilliant woman who worked with technology because she was a software Engineer, and even had a Pilot's license, would be a good film to premiere in Silicon Valley. Because I did not expect to be selected, I was very surprised when I received an e-mail from MICHAEL RABEHL asking me about the film. I was amazed when "Where is Nancy?" was selected. So the film comes as a beautiful circle. It is a film about a software Engineer that is going to premiere in Silicon Valley, at CINEQUEST. For me, this is the perfect place, and the perfect Festival to show "Where is Nancy?"

As part of CINEQUEST, Film and Creativity Festival  (From March 3-15).   "Where is Nancy?" will make its world Premier  in San José, California on Sunday, March 8th at 5PM  at the HAMMER THEATRE with a special opening at 4:45, where the band "Diamonds and Whiskey" will sing live the song "Walk On" composed for the movie. Don't miss this.