Jess Kohl is an English filmmaker and photographer. Her directorial work marries a raw, intimate style with a focus on global youth culture and marginalised communities. Jess has been quick to make her mark on the industry as an observational filmmaker whose intimate work shines a light on subjects that have not yet been explored.
Graduating from Central St Martins, Jess subsequently undertook a master’s degree at Goldsmiths University. Soon after graduating she launched her career with the still-image collection ‘Friends of the Dead’ in which she captured the workers, tour guides, and litter pickers who watch over London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ Victorian graveyards.
In more recent years Jess has turned her attention to the world of moving image and has been quick to carve a niche in the industry, her work (for clients such as ‘Nowness’ and ‘Dazed’) has been praised for its revealing and personal style – creating strong emotional narratives that tell the stories of those existing on the fringes of society. Whether documenting the UK Jewish underground scene in her film ‘Buttmitzvah’ or following a group of rebel Filipino punks living under president Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘War on Drugs’ in her film ‘Anarchy in the Philippines Jess’ work shows a clear talent for crafting films that document those searching for acceptance in their communities, religions, races and culture’s.
Most recently Jess released her documentary film ‘Nirvana’. Shot in India, the film focuses on Asia’s largest gathering of transgender women, Koovagam. Immersing herself into the culture, her candid and beautifully shot film explores the fringes of LGBT identity and highlights the contrast between Indian and western queerness.
Jess’ distinctive style and her talent for capturing nuanced and authentic moments have naturally led to her working in advertising creating poignant commercial spots for clients such as Carrera, Lamyland and Tinder.