Nicole is a storyteller at heart. She works to combine her passion for the natural world with fiction stories and has a penchant for the horror/thriller genre. Her most recent project, The Murk, transforms harmful water into an ominous presence threatening a young woman and her sick mother. It is a a haunting tale that makes you think twice about the water you’re drinking. The Murk is currently in the film festival circuit.


     The Murk


After her mother falls mysteriously ill, an ambitious, young lawyer must work to discover the root of her mother’s illness before an ominous presence in the water threatens her life.

The Murk is the winner of the John Douglass Fund Award, the Center for Environmental Filmmaking Center Scholars Grant, and the Matt Nagy DP Award. This film is Nicole’s graduate thesis film at American University.

Nicole Wackerly: Director, Producer, Writer, Editor 

The Murk trailer

Virtual Memories


Synopsis: Harboring guilt and blaming herself for her grandma’s passing, 25-year-old and recently sober Hayden pushes herself to attend the virtual remembrance marking the 1-year anniversary of the loss of her grandma. As Hayden succumbs to her guilt, a strange occurrence transports her into a memory where she encounters her grandma one last time and learns to forgive herself as she attains the closure she so desperately desires.
Created as a part of an Advanced Directing Course at American University during COVID-19 pandemic.

Nicole Wackerly: Director, Producer, Writer, Editor


Safe Word


Safe Word tells the story of Cesar, a masochist who must confront his self-loathing after his dom, Bear, reinvents the rules of their game. 

Nicole Wackerly: Associate Producer

Film Website:

Safe Word trailer


Latent Shadows

Synopsis: A short, psychological horror with a modern, German Expressionist
take on what keeps us up at night.

Completed at American University during COVID-19 pandemic.

Nicole Wackerly: Director, Producer, Writer, Editor, Cinematographer, Visual Effects 

Nowhere to Go


Synopsis: One runner lost in the woods with…nowhere to go…
A one-minute, one-character, one-line film created for a Film/Video Prod & Direction course at American University.

Nicole Wackerly: Director, Producer, Writer, Editor



Nicole’s documentary work focuses on environmental and conservation issues. Her most recent project with Maryland Public Television, Troubled Tributary: Maryland’s Patuxent River, focuses on water quality in the Patuxent River and how those living along its shores are impacted.
Troubled Tributary premiered on Maryland Public Television on April 20, 2022, and we’re excited to announce this film was the recipient of the Capital Emmy Student Production Award 2022!!


Sparking Salvation: A Short Documentary on Orangutan Conservation

Synopsis: Orangutans are highly intelligent primates who are critically endangered primates due primarily to human impacts. This documentary follows  scientist and orangutan expert Dr. Erin Vogel as she helps us understand what makes these great apes unique and the leading causes to their endangerment.
To contribute to orangutan conservation or for further information on these topics, visit


Nicole Wackerly: Director, Producer, Writer, Editor, Sound Recordist; Cinematography by both Nicole Wackerly & The Tuanan Orangutan Research Project.


Enrichment at the Ape Cognition & Conservation Initiative (ACCI)


Synopsis: Enrichment is a critical part of captive animal care, especially for the great apes. At ACCI, they take great strides to ensure the bonobos’ receive the proper enrichment they require to occupy their bodies and their minds. Visit to learn more and donate to the well-being of these apes.

Nicole Wackerly: Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor; Educational video created for the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative (ACCI) in Des Moines, Iowa.



Use of Water by Chimpanzees on the Savanna


Synopsis: Observations of savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at the Fongoli field site in Senegal have changed how and what we think we know about chimpanzees. For instance, chimpanzees were believed to be “water-fearing”, but the Fongoli chimps demonstrate how this is not a trait shared by all of Pan troglodytes. What else can we learn from this unique community of chimps?

Nicole Wackerly: Director, Producer, Writer, Editor, Cinematographer

Step up for State (2020) – Into the Savanna: Graduate Student Research on Chimpanzees in Senegal

Synopsis: Step up for State was a fundraiser to help raise funds for graduate student research. I created this short to assist my former advisor, Dr. Jill Pruetz, in this philanthropic venture.

Nicole Wackerly: Director, Producer, Writer, Editor, Cinematographer


Savanna Chimpanzees


Synopsis: A short, educational animation on the unique behaviors of the savanna chimpanzees at the Fongoli field site in Senegal.
Created in Adobe After Effects for an American University Motion Graphics course.

Nicole Wackerly: Animator, Illustrator, Writer/Director, Narrator