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Kamell Allaway | SHOOT New Directors Showcase Event
Kamell Allaway

Myron and E

Kamell Allaway

1) How did you get into directing? 
I lived in a fairly unsafe neighborhood until I was about 5. My parents didn’t let me play outside much so I had to be inventive with my time. I remember watching films like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Batman on loop, running around in my Batman chest plate, creating my own scenes spawned from those films; ya know, just being a weird little kid. I like to think my directing career started there.
2) What is your most recent project? 
I just finished my first feature, Sea Horse. We’ve been having a blast on the festival circuit so far and we recently signed a couple distribution deals, so we should see it on VOD later this year. The project that I’m currently working on though is a TV pilot for Josh Robert Thompson, who played Geoff Peterson on the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. I’m so excited about it. The set-up is like a mature Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. It’s surreal, wild, and hilarious. Josh is such a talented and funny guy and he really drives it home with this show. Other than that, I’m just doing more music videos.
3) What is the best part of being a director?
The best part is collaborating with all of the creative departments. When directing, you get to dabble in every aspect of filmmaking while guiding a singular vision. Having worked in several creative positions myself, I’ve developed a love for it all. I’ve grown so much as a director over the last few years because of the talented artists I’ve been able to work with.
4) What is the worst part of being a director? 
I enjoy all of it, even the parts that may seem negative. There are many challenges in filmmaking, but that’s what makes it so riveting.
5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 
Although I just finished a feature and I’m working on a TV pilot, my career focus is branded content. I’m a big fan of the short form. I love doing music videos and I’d like to do more commercials. I also love using surrealism to find a balance between comedy and drama. I aim to do more features and TV in the future, but I really want to be a part of the exciting work that’s being done in the commercial world right now.
6) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you? 
I’ve had several mentors over the years and I’ve learned so much from all of them. David Weitzner, Steve Albrezzi, Todd Robinson, John Watson, Molly Schiot, and Ace Norton are just a few that scratch the surface.
7) Who is your favorite director and why? 
That’s a hard one, but if I had to choose one I’d say Spike Jonze. I identify with his sensibility the most. His work fuels my passion for surrealism.
8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 
I don’t have a favorite movie, but if I had to choose one film to express my ambitions as a filmmaker, I’d probably choose Synecdoche, New York.
9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?) 
I grew up in Chino Hills, a small-town suburbia. I made it a mission to travel after high school while studying film, creative writing, and psychology at Yale University, CSU Northridge, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts, which is where I got my MFA. I’ve worked as a freelance director since then.