Profile: Kahlil Joseph (1981-)

Kahlil Davis is an American filmmaker. Joseph is known for creating “intellectually and emotionally dense short films” that center on the experience of African Americans in the United States. He was a 2017 Artadia Awardee.

Early life

Joseph’s father Keven Davis was a prominent sports and entertainment attorney, and his younger brother Noah Davis was a painter and museum curator.

Joseph attended Loyola Marymount University but did not graduate. Joseph’s own approach to filmmaking was influenced by his study of the work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the Thai director of experimental films.

Commercial work

Joseph previously worked as an assistant to the photographer Melodie McDaniel and at the commercial film production company Directors Bureau in Los Angeles. He has directed a commercial for British telecomms company O2 and a short film for the luxury brand Kenzo.

Joseph was the original director approached by Beyoncé Knowles to direct the companion film to her 2016 concept album Lemonade. Knowles eventually remixed much of the film with a number of different directors, and has since allowed Joseph’s version of Lemonade to be screened only at art museums. 

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