No she’s not the Makeup Artist! She’s Director Kit from Darling Films
Keitumetse Qhali aka Director Kit spent most of her career flying solo and working independently as a filmmaker, but now this doggedly determined director has made it bio-official and is the latest addition to the Darling Films family. We pushed our way through the crowds of adoring fans to get some face time.
As #Loeries2018 finally stops trending and we halt the frantic early morning online searches of any unflattering photos we might have been tagged in at an agency party or even worse Tall Ships (they really need to work on their lighting), we can’t help reflect on women, black women in particular, and the lack of representation on those stages! So when we ran into Director Kit over an unidentifiable deep-fried canapé, we were literally gagging (not because of the canapé) to talk to her.
iDidTht: Why go by ‘Director Kit’?
Director Kit: On set, I always get confused for being the makeup artist or wardrobe lady. Every. Single. Time. Even recently I did a shoot and three people in one day wanted wardrobe from me and I thought ‘Yoh, these guys!’ I decided to make it as clear as possible and that’s why I chose ‘Director Kit’. I have learnt not to take everything personally, because if I did, I would probably not be having this convo with you guys.
iDidTht: Damn, you gotta have some serious hair on your teeth for this game. What drives you to keep going back to set?
Kit: It’s just that…going back to set. I have spent at least half of my life trying to get there. Between pre-prod, between pitching, but once I get onto set things for me are very different. I go into this very calm space and I’m in complete creative control. I love it, it’s my safe space and I want to be there all the time.
Kit has grabbed every opportunity she can as a filmmaker; she applied for all the government funding opportunities out there (and got them!) to enable her to put together a showreel and film her first three short films. She was chosen as one of two aspiring filmmakers to be part of the BET mentoring program in Canada, grinded hard as a music video director for two years, filmed 3 features for Mzansi, has filmed two reality shows for SABC, grafts as a commercial director and is currently busy with her own feature film. The woman doesn’t sleep.
iDidTht: After all this, it must have been one hellavu decision to finally sign on the dotted line and join the Darling team?
Kit: Not at all. The producers Melina and Lorraine are such a force and very protective. I chose Darling because I felt a lot of warmth from them and I also like the calibre of directors they have. I think it’s a step up for me and it’s a great fit.
iDidTht: So many agencies in SA have committed to brief more black directors and have also signed the pledge to Free the Bid. As a black female director, are you seeing that practically put into place?
Kit: Honestly, not enough. In my own experience, I think some clients doubt that we have the confidence to pull it off, which is of course pretty damn unfounded. I did realise that as soon as they saw me in action and discovered what I can bring to a production, all of those questions and all of those fears completely disappeared.
iDidTht: Having to constantly prove yourself has to get to you after a while though, have you ever just wanted to throw in the towel or more appropriately burn the damn towel to the ground?
Kit: Ha! You don’t understand, there is absolutely nothing else in the world I want to do apart from film.
iDidTht: Wow, respect! So what do you tell young black women wanting to enter the industry?
Kit: Don’t be afraid. You have to aggressively believe in your talents no matter what is taking place around you. And probably the most important one is bet on yourself, always bet on yourself.
iDidTht: What advice got you to where you are today?
Kit: The best advice would have to be from my mother. She told me very early on that I have to work twice as hard to get to where I want to be, and I have to believe twice as hard that I can achieve what I want.
Director Kit’s dream of working in this industry started at a young age, after visiting the set of Amelia starring Richard Gere and Hilary Swank (we know right?! #Goals), filmed on a family friend’s farm in the Eastern Cape, she was hooked. Throughout her studies at AFDA 7 years ago she also worked as an actress, and guys (apologies Kit, but we just have to), she was even Smartycat in the kids show Cool Catz! (Wildly clapping!)
Kit: ‘I always wanted to be a cartoon growing up, well it happened, but it was terrible! The kids were so scared of us, haha!’
SHOT BY DIRECTOR KIT
Kit’s love of aesthetics and colours and her excitement of taking the audience on a visual journey in her commercials is very different to the dramatic work she is passionate about in long form. But the two worlds – playful and serious – somehow make sense, because that is Director Kit. Captivated by beauty and motivated by narrative choice Kit is the kind of director who gets right to the heart of story and draws it out with a profound visual appreciation.
EASY WAVES | BRAND COMMERCIAL
MARAZA FT LASTA | IKESI
USANELE | AMABHODLELA
UKUBE | SHORT FILM EXCERPT
Q: One thing you can’t be without on set?
Q: What series, apart from Cool Catz reruns, are you currently binge watching?
A: Haha guys! I’m watching Power.
Q: If you weren’t a director, what would you be?
A: A pilot.
Q: What’s your spirit animal?
A: A horse.
Q: Directing is…
A: The love of my life.
Q: Apart from us, three people, dead or alive, you would invite to watch reruns of Cool Catz with?
A: You are the worst!
iDidTht: Haha, we can’t stop!
Kit: Okay! Directors Vashtie Kola and Ang Lee and Ghanaian politician Kwame Nkrumah.
Q: What’s a piece of work you wish you directed?
A: The Kenzo commercial.
iDidTht: The one Taylor Swift ripped off?
Kit: Can you believe it!? The audacity. Shot for shot. The ad is so great though, good performance and crazy visuals combined with special effects. I watched it and I thought OHMYGAWD!
Well we met Director Kit and thought ‘OHMYGAWD what an inspiring badass Director’. So dear advertising industry. Serious about inclusivity and shaking up the boys club? Here we go, on a silver platter nogal. Don’t say we didn’t make it easy for you.
Produced by the iDidTht Content Studio
Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
*This content may not be reproduced or used in any part without the prior written consent of iDidTht. Reprints must credit iDidTht (iDidTht.com) as the original publisher of this editorial piece and include a link to this site.
This Editorial is paid for by Darling Films. Want our studio to create content that puts your agency/company/kickass ad you made in bright lights for the whole industry to see? Contact email@example.com and we’ll make it happen! #Boom