Jess Kohl is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer whose work often focuses on the fringes of society, where she seeks to amplify voices globally that have historically not been heard. Her work combines a raw, intimate cinematic style with a sensitive understanding of her subjects.
Graduating from Central Saint Martins with 1st Class Honours, she went on to complete an MA at Goldsmiths in Cinematography. Her Raindance nominated first short documentary, Anarchy in the Philippines, follows a group of Filipino punk activists living under President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’. She went on to highlight the contrast between Indian and Western queerness in Nirvana, which was nominated for a One World Media Award, and screened at festivals including LSFF, BFI Flare & Ciclope. Her most recent film, Disciples, follows opposing skinhead groups in Malaysia, and was nominated as Best Documentary Short at the prestigious Grierson Trust Awards.
Jess often uses photography as a tool to research topics and themes prior to and alongside embarking on film projects. In 2016, her photo series Friends of the Dead was exhibited in a solo show at The Vaults, London, and in 2020 she had her first Italian solo show at Palazzo delle Arti in Napoli.
Jess’ distinctive directorial voice and talent for capturing nuanced and authentic moments has naturally led her to working on commercial projects and music videos, creating poignant campaigns for clients such as Nike, Google, Tinder, On Running, and Speedo.
Currently, Jess is working on her first feature documentary, where she continues to explore the intersection of culture, religion and gender non-conformity in the south of Italy.
Represented by PrettyBird for commercial projects
Selected awards & nominations:
Best Documentary Short nominee, The Grierson Awards.
Doc n Roll.
Best Director –
Milan Fashion Film Festival, 2019 + 2020.
Best Documentary – Milan Fashion Film Festival.
Best Documentary Short nominee – One World Media Awards.
London Short Film Festival.
Best Documentary Short, Raindance Film Festival.
Moving Image BA, Central Saint Martins – 1st Class Honours
Cinematography MA, Goldsmiths University
2020 | ANIME SALVE at The PAN – Palazzo delle Arti, Napoli – a series of photographs made over two years in Napoli, Italy, examining gender non conformity in the city, and the regeneration of the suburb of Scampia.
2016 | Friends of the Dead at The Vaults, London – a collection of black and white portraits capturing the individuals who work and volunteer in London’s most famous cemeteries.