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Uprising: Kevin Speight's First ‘Gigantic Super Production’

Uprising 93 Add to collection

Seven Senses’ director on being both a perfectionist and a free spirit, spending his time between Mexico and Spain, and taking things step by step, writes LBB’s Nisna Mahtani

Uprising: Kevin Speight's First ‘Gigantic Super Production’

Kevin Speight grew up with the attitude that so many children have - that there are no limits and the world can be yours at any given time. With an interest in both sports and movies, his parents and their passion seeped into his childhood, “My parents were into theatre so I partly grew up on a backstage, learning and repeating texts off by heart by Darío Fo.” While Kevin says, “We all judge and understand our world from our childhood prism,” he goes on to explain how his left-wing, young-dreamer parents brought him up with the same attitudes. “Their spirit back then made me who I am today and their energy and spirit are still in me up to now.”

Studying History of Art at university, Kevin chose to pursue a degree that he loved and had a passion for. It was after this that he decided to study photography and later on post-production. As a free thinker and daydreamer, Kevin found that his most useful and important lessons came from travelling, which he cites as his main source of experience.

Describing his personality, Kevin explains how he’s ‘everything all at once’. “But if I have to choose,” he says, “I’m an ambitious daydreamer who tries to build my own personal and intimate world through my work.” Currently based between Mexico and Spain, the former became his home during the lockdown period. “I lived in a village for four months and life was nice and easy. It all seemed like a weird dream.” He describes this experience as ‘lucky’, in a quiet, remote area that became more homely by the day. 

Starting off in the industry was a deliberate choice that Kevin made and he worked across several different filming crews. His first job was being a personal assistant to Mr Bloom which was exactly what the job title says. “My first film was a gigantic super production by Ridley Scott and was my longest shooting, five months. Imagine that.” In what Kevin describes as both an ‘incredible and really strange start’ he explains, “It was obviously a good but also confusing experience where I learned a lot about working on set as I was always close to the camera or to Ridley.”

As a self-motivated person, honing his craft comes from one main source: working. He says, “I think that there´s no one in this world who will believe in you more than yourself. You are the one who has to generate your own work and opportunity so I believe in nurturing this intuitive driving force we all have, to continue working and finding yourself through your work.” It was during the working process that Kevin learnt a valuable lesson from an AD on set who asked him what he wants to do. “I said I wanted to direct and he asked, ‘so what are you doing here?’ It took me longer than expected to sort that out, but it’s a question that I keep bringing up from time to time.”

When Kevin got into directing, his first project involved the visual arts and he was surprisingly more nervous than expected. “I had to learn to dialogue with myself, calm down, trust and enjoy the journey.” The project was self-produced and the pressure was beginning to mount, but Kevin made sure to take it one step at a time. This sentiment is something he’s carried with him throughout his journey, explaining: “I don´t feel there’s a stepping stone and I prefer not to see it that way,” when asked about his most significant piece of work, “I think it´s all gone really gradual, step by step.”

“Playing, falling in love with what I do, sharing ideas with the crew, discovering new worlds and conclusions. I really love the process,” says Kevin. His enthusiasm for his craft is what drives him, alongside his need to get everything done just right, “I really have to work on not being so perfectionist.” With a nonstop curiosity towards not only his own work but other artistic realms, storytelling is what Kevin’s main focus is. “The most important achievement for me right now is to tell stories, enter new worlds, new narratives and tell a story of which we can all learn something. Stories that can wake you.”

Within the creative industries, Kevin believes nowadays, “There’s less space for imagination.” Looking to the world of advertising, he explains, “I think we´re in a data ruling moment and this really influences creativity and the way clients want to show and sell their products.” However, he also explains that where we are at this very moment, is at an intersection where ‘you can do almost anything’ and that creatives should certainly be taking advantage of this. Going further, to the future of the industry, Kevin believes we should be “Encouraging creativity, stories and new ways of telling stories.” He goes so far as to say, “The industry underestimates the spectator.” 

A fan of cinema, it’s Kevin’s favourite pastime to step out of his life into a tried and tested form of escapism. “I watch lots of cinema which I enjoy a lot. It´s always difficult to make a selection of favourites, but I can say what I have watched lately that have blown my mind…” He goes on to recommend Foxtrot by Samiel Mahoz, O Que Arde by Oliver Laxi, Border by Ali Abbasi and Abu Leila by Amin Sidi-Boumediene, as particularly poignant films.

Perhaps enhanced by his lockdown experience in Mexico, Kevin also describes a few more of his passions, “I love photography, reading and especially the countryside. I would really love to be able to develop projects in the rural world and keep up with my work at the same time.” Alongside this, he doesn’t mince his words when describing the things that help him decompress and face a new day: “People. Meet, speak, walk, drink, eat with people.” 

Kevin’s main motivation has been and will remain, “The search of self-knowledge, the curiosity for life and people, and the continued sake of playing.”

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Genres: People

Seven Senses, Tue, 22 Feb 2022 15:44:00 GMT