You may have come across a series of dark, edgy short films posted by fashion blogger, stylist, and influencer Kim Jones on Instagram. The multi-hyphenate has been dabbling in film production since 2016. In fact, the first thing you see when you visit her website is "Kim Jones is a digital creative dedicated to explorations in the fields of film, photography, and production." So when the opportunity came to direct a series of vignettes with just a Huawei P30 Pro, she couldn’t resist. Below, Kim talks about her creative process and shares how she rewrote the rules to filming, directing, and editing for this one-of-a-kind project.
What is the project all about?
I’ve always been drawn to film. It’s a beautiful intersection of all the creative mediums I love: photography, writing, styling, and production. For the past two years, everything I’ve done has been for the sole purpose of working towards acting in and directing my first feature. I wanted this project to be really special—a concept of palatable vignettes that live in this abstract space and are open to interpretation—and I wanted other people to see what they could create with a good smartphone and see themselves as their own creators.
How would you describe these short films?
Film feels very natural to me, more so than fashion and photography. It’s so innately personal, intimate, visceral, and human. These short films were like a conduit for my voice during this time of my life. It’s darker than what a lot of people are used to seeing from me, but that’s the beauty of context in motion picture.
How did you edit the videos?
My team and I used a video editing software we downloaded onto the phone.
What were some of the struggles you encountered? How did you get over the fear of possibly not living up to your vision?
This isn't my first project as director, but with the help of a team that’s open and responsive to my ideas, the only struggles I encountered were deciding which frames to keep and what props to use.
I still feel a slight case of imposter syndrome when established directors reach out to me and say they enjoy my work. It’s still so shocking and I haven’t gotten over it, because I know I still have a lot to learn. Learning about film is so humbling and exciting. It's an incredible time to be female in the creative sphere. The world has so much to offer now—and it’s the first time I feel like I’m exactly where I am supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do.
Who or what has inspired the style for each of the vignettes?
For “Going the Distance,” we did a single take underwater with the camera upside down to beg questions about time and illusion. “Faces” featured a montage showing my different sides; I acted and played with different emotions, like mania and irony.
“Dreamscape” was a nod to the mundane and the banal—begging the quintessential question: Where are we all going? The lighting was inspired by Stanley Kubrick.
How did you feel about switching from actress to director to editor?
The transition feels natural for me, and it excites me to be able to have full control of the ideas I want to share. I learned so much in fulfilling all these roles. I could not have done this series without Apa Agbayani (art director), Martika Ramirez Escobar (director of photography), Erika Yuseco and Colin Dancel (producers), and Christina Devecais (business development). They were all so willing to get their hands dirty and pour everything into making this series a reality: painting props, testing a kiddie pool filled with red paint and food dye, getting burnt by smoke bombs, and standing in for me to check the frame.
How did you create different looks using just the Huawei P30 Pro?
There’s no smokescreen—we learned how to use and maximize the features of the camera, then used supplementary software and case lenses to adjust the framing and lights. I think that goes to show the Huawei P30 Pro as a strong tool in filmmaking. You can use it to maximize the footage as you would with footage from any other camera. It’s empowering as a creative to be able to do that from start to finish. I do want to say that the P30 Pro offers so many additions for filmmaking through supplementary lenses and software that give you more control behind the camera so that you can tailor your approach depending on your output.
What are the advantages of using a smartphone like the Huawei P30 Pro to film your series?
It takes out so much of what can be complicated and intimidating about film or photography. At the end of the day, it’s your lens to the creative world, and it allows you to create your own stories wherever you are. Your phone—in my case, the P30 Pro—acts as another limb, and having such a powerful, portable tool with you at all times is thrilling.
Kim definitely recommends using the Huawei P30 Pro to create vivid, standout content specifically for these features: It has a Leica Quad Camera system (a SuperZoom Lens, a 40-megapixel Super Sensing Camera, a 20-megapixel Ultra Wide-Angle Lens, and a Huawei TOF Camera) which is designed to capture your most important moments in high-resolution, sharp, and life-like photos and videos. It also has an RYYB sensor and a Huawei SuperSpectrum sensor for accurate image saturation and the flexibility to increase brightness by up to 40 percent.