This week we’re joined by Chicago filmmaker & performer, Kyra Jones!
(This interview was edited and condensed for clarity)
CA: Hey Kyra! Hit us with your bio.
KJ: Hi, my name is Kyra Jones and I am a local Chicago filmmaker. A lot of people may recognize me from my web series, The Right Swipe, which I co-created and starred with Julie Del Prete. But in addition to being a screenwriter and an actor, I'm also an intamacy coordinator.
CA: How is our cultural climate changing the film industry?
KJ: As far as BLM, there's so many different aspects of how the industry needs to change in order to be safe and nurturing for Black artists. I think most of the conversation has historically been around putting more Black actors in front of the camera. And now we've got to talk about who is actually writing these stories that these black actors are performing because they're not always Black– usually not Black –and that shows.
CA: Any new projects?
KJ: I am working on some new projects! My first feature film Go to the Body is in preproduction. It is a boxing film actually that follows the story of a young black couple as they struggle to navigate their relationship in the aftermath of a sexual assault. We are crowdfunding for the proof of concept, which we were planning on shooting in October. We did hit our goal, but we are still crowdfunding more; people can still donate. People can still share. Anything that is raised in excess will go towards the full feature.
CA: Why is 'Go to the Body' an important story?
KJ: It's a really important and timely story because it focuses on violence against Black women. Not just from the perspective of police violence, but the type of gender violence we experience in our own community. As we were gearing up to start the crowdfunding, Oluwatoyin Salau was sexually assaulted and murdered. There are just so many parallels with what she experienced and the script that are very eerie. So now the film is dedicated to her and honestly is a love letter to Black survivors and secondary survivors.
CA: What local collaborators do you love to work with?
KJ: I really love the Chicago film industry. I have worked with so many fantastic people. I love Hannah Welever; I think she is one of the most talented directors and cinematographers– on the whole earth; like not just locally. I also really love Sarah Minnie from many productions and OTV. She produced The Right Swipe. Honestly, the whole, OTV's squad: Aymar Jean Christian and Elijah McKinnon and Jenna Anast, everybody involved with OTV are some of my favorite folx. They're really doing groundbreaking work that like needs a larger audience and I know that they are working to make that happen. I have a whole wealth of folks that I was very blessed to collaborate with.
Check out the video interview (and all our #filmmakerfriday videos on Youtube):