Kynza K-J, Writer, Editor & Director, London

Kynza K-J, Writer, Editor & Director, London





Reuben Henry-Fellows

Hey, can you introduce yourself to us?


Hi, I’m Kynza K-J, I’m a twenty-four-year-old British-Moroccan woman and I’m a Writer, Editor and Director based in London. 


What does the day-to-day of this usually look like for you?


I work with KLOSS Films, who is a fashion film director, and I’ve also been directing for three years. With KLOSS I work on a variety of different projects all at various stages of production; coming up with concepts, making creative treatments and decks, being on set and assisting the director, operating cameras, and then also managing the post-production and editing. We usually work in the luxury fashion space, so I’ve worked on projects a lot for British Vogue and for brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Versace, Dior and Chanel. 

My approach to directing in my personal work is to plan each shot as if it were a photograph. I usually try to tell stories through my work, whether that be deeply personal or something that’s a creative outlet.


What were your interests when you were young that helped shape your career today? 


I was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, and French was my first language, so when I arrived in England and was living in a small southern town in England, I was already a little bit different from everyone else. From an early age my passion was to be creative. I danced nights after school, played the drum kit in an orchestra, had two sets of life drawing classes a week, extra fashion design courses on Saturdays at my local university, and I also did loads of languages. Everyone in my town wore the exact same thing and I hated that, so I had this dream of moving to Paris to do fashion.

"Directing and film were my way to mould everything that I love about creativity into one."

How did this passion for creativity translate into your studies?


I did Fashion Communication with Business Studies at the University of Brighton. I was very fortunate that every summer I did an internship and I also did a placement year. When I moved to Paris in my placement year I saw a much bigger world than I could ever have done in my hometown. There’s so much experimentation [at university] that you’re allowed to make mistakes and try weird things, to dye your hair and express yourself in so many different ways. I met so many creatives who really inspired me and still inspire me. They’re some of my best friends. The internships are invaluable. I had my go at styling, fashion consultancy, interior design, photography, retouching, animation, and print magazines. It was here I found film. [Film is] sound, it’s colour, it’s movement, it’s bodies, it’s humans, it’s stories. Directing and film were my way to mould everything that I love about creativity into one. 


Was university necessary for who you are today? 


I went into the degree thinking I wanted to be a stylist. The summer before, I interned as a styling assistant and I hated it. There wasn’t enough creativity, especially working for a brand. It was just not for me. It’s not necessary for everyone, but for me personally and my creative journey, had I gone straight into work, I don’t think I would have understood the world and industry. The way I saw the world at 18 was not the world that I see now.


Why did you choose London to live and work?


Strangely, I was always against moving to London. I think being from Brussels I had some weird vision of London that felt boring and safe, and I wanted to explore the world and move far away. Then I moved to Brighton for university and started working in London, where I made a community of friends, creatives and collaborators. I realised how special the city is and how amazing the creative scene is. The opportunities here are incredible. It’s been a journey the last four or five years. Before moving to London two years ago, I would commute up from Bournemouth, then Brighton, and in the midst I fell in love with the city. Right now, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.


How did you start working for KLOSS? 


I started working at KLOSS about 4 years ago. A Director of Photography, a friend of mine, put me in touch for an interview, and since then film has become my life and I have never looked back. It is such a stimulating industry, and working closely with KLOSS has taught me invaluable creative and life lessons.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?


I chose film as my medium of communication because it encompasses everything… Making beautiful imagery, storytelling and working with incredibly talented people. For films like Treasure, where I did the production design, styling, directing and editing, I worked with many talented people who are so passionate about what they do helping me make my vision and my concept. I love that sense of togetherness that you get through filmmaking. It’s such a huge act of kindness, not only with their talent but with them collaborating with me and making it theirs with me. It’s just really beautiful to me.

"the language of film was something I used to help me understand why I am me."

What are the most challenging things about your work?

The mental, physical and emotional exhaustion I give myself when I work on a project because quite often I give everything. Everything of me. It could be as simple as the brainstorming or storyboarding process, but also your deepest darkest thoughts and experiences. Treasure, for example, was the most painfully therapeutic project I’ll probably ever do. Although that probably sounds quite naïve, I approached my own feelings on my cultural identity, my feelings of cultural disconnection and the grief from the death of my parents. Approaching all these emotions through the language of film was something I used to help me understand why I am me. It was painful, exhausting and heart-wrenching, but the most incredible experience ever because I was able to share with my crew what I was trying to communicate and the kind of pressure that I had put on this project. Then the audience too. When it was screened at the Barbican with a Q&A, that step, showing my friends and family, was really scary. When people were asking me questions and seeing other filmmakers relate to my story it felt like such a release. The project was challenging in so many personal ways, but it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It really showed me the power of film.

What qualities or personal traits have you found beneficial to your film career?


You need to be open to anything, even if that’s trying something really scary. Whether it’s collaborative ideas, feedback or criticism, you’ve got to be ready to mould yourself and be inspired by something new. I’ll have an idea or concept and I’ll start to create it only for the day of the shoot to arrive and I’ll be inspired by random things that have the potential to transform my idea into something better. Silly ideas you thought weren’t interesting can evolve into the most exciting part of the film.

For example, I made a film called Sun-Kissed and Sun-Blushed where I was inspired by the French Riviera, Club Tropicana style, a love story that felt like the Dolce & Gabbana ads you grew up watching with my own twist. Rather than the film being an out-and-out love story, it evolved into this love letter to British summer time before my eyes. I tried something new, a project that I wasn’t connected to in such a deep, meaningful and sad way, and had a great time putting that day-to-day side of me to film.

"You need to be open to anything, you've got to be ready to mould yourself and be inspired by something new."

Fashion and fashion films can be perceived as the industries of perfection. How important was it to acknowledge and learn from the mistakes you made on the road to where you are today?


It can definitely be viewed as this place that shows the ideal beauty standards and lifestyles but it’s not real. With KLOSS, working with big fashion brands, it is such a different and exciting experience. You really get to see the artistry and expertise that goes into making the final piece that the world gets to see. 


I love the creative freedom I have had when working with smaller brands, as their identity may still be formulating and that’s what you’re there to create. For example, I directed a short fashion film for a demi-couture vegan brand in New York, which was a very intimate experience. I worked so closely with the designer to present her feelings on animal cruelty and veganism through an experimental medium that flowed naturally out of their philosophy. I was working with the client, the photographer, the designer, the choreographer, and all these amazingly talented people with so much creative freedom but, as it was smaller, the margins were tighter.


You should never feel frightened of not being the biggest expert. You can’t get to perfection without having experienced what imperfection is. When I, or someone I know, has worked on cover shoots for big brands, the shot that makes the cover can be completely unintentional; fabric accidently moving in front of the talent’s face, rubbing their eyes, laughing unexpectedly. That’s what’s so great about it. It’s this amazing picture because it’s so raw. The imperfection made it perfect.

The biggest piece of advice you’d give to newcomers?


What I try to tell myself all the time is that being a beginner at something is terrifying when you have the potential of failing. But I would encourage failure. It’s there that I learnt so much about the way I work, how to improve and myself. Problem-solving on projects at university and my internships were part of that journey of growth. The fear of being a beginner can hold people back. It held me back before I learnt to overcome it. You’ve just got to try and fight it and you’ll be all the better for it on the other side.


What’s the best way to approach filmmaking?


Without hesitation.

"You can't get to perfection without having experienced what imperfection is."


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