15th January 2024
The wonderful director Kibwe Tavares, whose upcoming film The Kitchen, which he co-directed with Daniel Kaluuya, was the closing night film at this year’s BFI London Film Festival and will be releasing on Netflix this month.
We chat about his debut movie, a day in a life of a director and what we can expect in the future for Kibwe Tavares.
Thanks so much for talking to ReVamp, for people who don’t know you, how would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Tenacious, adaptable, ambitious. A bit weird maybe.
You are a very talented director, and have directed a lot of short movies, what made you want to get into directing?
I've always made short films and animations when I was growing up. After studying architecture, the opportunity came about to become a director. I put all my energy into it, starting off with short films, some commercials, and even a ballet. I was always attracted to the idea of bringing so many creative minds together to make something singular and unique. Directing allows you the opportunity to do this.
What does your day look like, as I can imagine it is quite a long day?
The day varies loads, while shooting it will range from location scouting, checking in on all the sets, costumes, spending a lot of time with the cast talking through the intent of the scenes we are going to do that day and our approach. A lot of time with my cinematographer and other HODs. Then working through the scenes. I tend to have a song or playlist I listen to that defines the mood.
Most other days are lots and lots of meetings, I spend a lot of time building treatments and visual documents to help me articulate ideas to the rest of the teams. All this is mixed in with a bit of self-doubt and fear about whether my ideas are good enough and am I communicating them well.
‘The Kitchen’, is set for release in January on Netflix, how exciting, can you tell us a little bit about the new release, and what viewers can expect?
I’m excited for the world to see it almost a decade from when we first started working on it. Viewers can expect to see a true honest emotional story set in London that hasn't been seen before.
‘As the people of ‘The Kitchen’ fight back against the corporate powers trying to destroy it, Izi is forced to choose between himself and community. What inspired the new film?
Lots of conversations and workshops between Daniel Kaluuya and I and our producer Daniel Emmerson, and our drive and inspiration came from our desire to create a film only we could, that spoke to us as artists but also speaks to London, what it could become and our place in it.
You co-directed with another talent, Daniel Kaluuya, what was it like co-directing with him, and how did your ideas come together to create ‘The Kitchen’?
Daniel and I worked closely for years on this project. We have a complimentary skill set and approach. This allowed us to be super ambitious while making our debut feature. My background in design and architecture provided us with an opportunity to create a new version of London combined with Daniel's natural connection to character and a character's truth. It helped us to create something that is truly specific, personal, but lives in a wider context. We built on our experiences to put both our narratives into the film. Daniel has worked with some of the best directors on the planet: Steve McQueen, Denis Villeneuve, Ryan Coogler, Jodan Peele, Shaka King to name a few. This helped us learn from the giants who have preceded us.
How is this new release different from other films you have directed?
It's my first feature film, so it's longer. This allowed us to have a sharper, more focused journey with our characters while still allowing space and building on the work and the visual language I created in my short films.
What are you most looking forward to for the release?
I'm just excited for the world to see it. When you've been musing and working on something for this long, you put lots of your life experience and ideation into it, so I'm excited for the world to see my ideas and hopefully they will respond and connect with them.
What is next for you after the release?
I'm currently directing an animated film for Netflix produced by Darla Anderson who produced Toy Story 3, Coco, and Monsters Inc., to name a few.
The Kitchen is out on Netflix on the 19th January.