Jess Kohl is an an award-winning British filmmaker whose work marries raw intimacy with a focus on global youth culture and marginalised communities. Her work has been praised for its revealing and personal style, creating strong emotional narratives that tell the stories of those existing on the fringes of society.
Whether documenting the UK queer Jewish underground scene in her film, Buttmitzvah, following a group of rebel Filipino punks living under President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘War on Drugs’ in her Raindance nominated film Anarchy in the Philippines, or highlighting the contrast between Indian and Western queerness in her candid and beautifully shot Nirvana – which won multiple awards including Best Documentary at Milan Fashion Film Festival (where she also won Best Director) & Athens Film Festival, as well as being nominated for a One World Media Award – Jess’ work shows a clear talent for crafting films that document those searching for acceptance in their communities, religions, races, and cultures. Her most recent short film, Disciples, premiered on Dazed this summer, and has been nominated for the Grierson Trust Awards ‘Best Documentary Short.’
Jess’ distinctive style and talent for capturing nuanced and authentic moments has naturally led to her working on commercial projects, creating poignant campaigns for clients such as Tinder, Facebook, VSCO, Unilever, On Running, and Nike. Most recently, Jess completed a campaign for CoppaFeel! called “Know Yourself,” which encourages young people to explore their own bodies to detect early signs of breast cancer. The spot quickly made David Reviews’ ‘Pick of the Day’ and was covered by many industry outlets, including LBB, shots, Adobo Magazine, Campaign, and more.
Beyond film, Jess continues exploring the intersection of culture, religion, and gender non-conformity across the globe through photography, notably traveling to Scampia, a suburb of Naples, Italy, to document one of the oldest recorded communities of gender queerness in history, the Femminielli.
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