I find my inspiration through research, which, for me, is watching films. Living in Jamaica, I’m often using minimal resources to create entire productions, but that challenge helps me to stay as innovative as possible. That’s why when I watch feature films where directors have massively larger budgets than I do, it’s interesting to see what they do with it.
As a director, I’m always on the look out for three things: cinematography, how the director is able to keep interest through the story line, and the development of characters. I direct, shoot and edit everything I release, so I have a broad understanding of what makes a good visual production memorable. These are elements that I believe assist in that.
Ex Machina (2015)
What I appreciated the most about this film was the cinematography, more specifically the camera choice, lenses (cause it had some really interesting bokeh) and how the shots were framed. Because the plot of the movie was so focused on the antagonist’s interactions with AI (artificial intelligence), the frames that showed their intimate moments, dialogue and body language, really assisted in, visually, driving the storyline.
For a feature film, where there’s typically a mix of interior and exterior locations (CGI or real), most of this movie was shot on interior sets, were you don’t have much natural lighting to work with. Even in the subtlest of ways, lighting becomes very important, and I thought they executed this well.
Black Panther (2017)
Black Panther was and is an incredible film for so many reasons but, as a director, I was mainly in awe of how the crew and Ryan Coogler imagined and created this world using familiar and new elements. The CGI work was incredible and I really like how they made Wakanda a technologically-advanced place both in their devices but in the design of the set.
Another reason why I liked Black Panther was because of the costumes, which were brilliantly done by Ruth E. Carter, and the score, curated by Kendrick Lamar, which I think helps in adding some relatable elements. How you capture an audience is important because it’s about the overall experience, and I think this movie did a good job of being mindful of how each component of creating a feature contributes to a holistic viewing experience.
The Giver (2014)
Any filmmaker knows how difficult it is to shoot and edit in greyscale, but I liked that Noyce embraced the challenge and created a film that was shot in both colour and greyscale, and more specifically, how the transition from grayscale to colour was made. As the filmed progressed, bits and pieces of color was added to either show a realization by theprotagonist, or to make it clear to the viewer that something unconventional was happening.
Overall, I really appreciated the concept and storyline of The Giver. The concept left me, as the viewer, with something to think about and that in itself held my interest throughout the entire film. The cinematography and characters didn’t leave much to the imagination, but I really enjoyed the overarching message that was present.
Paid in Full (2002)
Paid In Full is a classic. Stylistically, it’s one of my favourites: it’s grungy, you can see the grain on the film—I want to recreate something like this—but I appreciated that the Stone strived for authenticity from the characters. That’s part of what sold it for me: it was a film that felt authentic to its intended audience.
This is a classic film and there’s so many things to appreciate about it, but I’m a really fan of Hype Williams’ usage of colour and lighting. It’s no secret that few films do justice when lighting Black skin, and Belly has several iconic scenes that either work with or compliment our skin like the film’s intro, to the scenes that alternate between Keisha and Tommy’s house. The colour work here was incredible.
You can check out 300K’s new music video for “The Light” by Govana featuring Dre Island below.