‘BLKNWS’: Kahlil Joseph To Direct Feature Adaptation Of His Video Exhibition For Participant & A24

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Filmmaker, music video director, and video artist Kahlil Joseph is set to make his feature directorial debut with BLKNWS® – The Feature Film (working title), an adaptation of of his video exhibition of the same name for Participant and A24.

BLKNWS®​ is described by the art exhibition curator Los Angeles Nomadic Division as “a ‘conceptual news program’, or ‘conceptual journalism,’ that is simultaneously a work of art as well as a media entity. It takes the form of a two-channel installation connected to a newscast that blurs the lines between art, reporting, entrepreneurship, and cultural critique.

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“Exploring film as a powerful collective experience that can be manipulated through its essential visual and audio components, ​BLKNWS® ​reflects upon the contemporary period utilizing fragments of popular culture, archival material, and filmed news desk segments. Historical iconography sits side by side with ordinary images from our daily lives,” LAND’s description continues. “When examined through Joseph’s lens, these images are steeped with an unusual perception of contemporary society that doubles as the artist’s ethos, inheriting a new life of reflection and signification. The dichotomy constructed by the device of the split screen polarizes the images employed, fragmenting the narrative and formalizing the images for their poetic and political potential. The ways in which the newscast is combined and collaged becomes as surreal as our current cultural condition.”

Participant will lead production on the feature and co-finance alongside A24, which will also handle worldwide distribution. It will be lensed by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young (Arrival, Selma). Joseph, Onye Anyanwu, Amy Greenleaf and Nicolas Gonda will produce, with Jeff Skoll and Anikah McLaren exec producing.

BLKNWS® was first teased yesterday in Twitter posts by Participant and A24, which you can view below.

Joseph’s works have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Underground Museum in Los Angeles, New York’s New Museum and the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington, among other notable institutions. He has shot commercials for companies including O2 and short films for brands including Kenzo, while directing music videos for such artists as Blvck Spvde(Black Spade), Flying Lotus, Shabazz Palaces, Sampha and Kendrick Lamar.

The deal for BLKNWS® was negotiated by Jeannine Tang, General Counsel, Stacey Fong, Senior Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs, and Stefanie Holmes, Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs on behalf of Participant; CAA Media Finance, which arranged the film’s financing; and Richard Thompson at Brecheen Feldman Breimer on behalf of the filmmaking team alongside A24. Joseph is represented by CAA.

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