Crystal Kayiza


Crystal Kayiza

Little Minx

1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?

My first professionally directed work was, Edgecombe, which premiered in 2018. Edgecombe is set in Edgecombe County, North Carolina and is an intergenerational story about the ways trauma repeats and reinvents itself in rural Black communities. It screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and won the Gold Plaque at Chicago International Film Festival.

2) How did you get into directing?

I was introduced to non-fiction storytelling as a high school student. I was very fortunate to be a part of a program that empowered me to create my own short form projects and take creative ownership of that work. After that, I spent four years studying documentary as an undergrad. Because of these experiences, I’ve seen directing as part of my identity as a storyteller, before it was something I could even articulate or consciously knew about myself.

3) What is your most recent project?

My most recent project, See You Next Time, is a short documentary that reaches across the nail salon table to capture the intimate moments shared between a Chinese nail artist and her Black client in Flatbush, NY.

4) What is the best part of being a director?

One of the best parts of this medium is the creative collaboration. Cultivating an idea and bringing it out into the world can be a very isolating process. There’s a lot of labor that goes into directing but the creative community you surround yourself with is so important. Watching the art evolve along with a community is one of the most fulfilling parts of the work.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, TV movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?

For several years my focus as a director has been non-fiction storytelling. I’m currently working to experiment with that form in the fiction space, particularly drama, and through commercial work.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)

I was born in Harlem, NY and grew up in Jenks, OK. My family is Ugandan and I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by a Ugandan community of recent immigrants and first-generation kids. I studied documentary in college and afterwards spent two years in the nonprofit world working on racial justice issues. I left in 2017 to pursue freelance filmmaking full time.


Contact Rhea Scott, President, Little Minx, regarding Crystal Kayiza via email
Little Minx