We had the good fortune of connecting with Kyndra Kennedy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kyndra, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
From music to poetry to screenplays and film, I’ve always had a need for creative expression and storytelling. It is important for me that I love what I do for a living, and I truly love every step of the filmmaking process. My intellectual, analytical and artistic sides are fully expressed. Also, being an artist from Los Angeles, born and raised, pursuing a career in the entertainment business has always been a viable option (lucrative if you’re lucky). It is absolutely possible to make a living as a filmmaker in LA. So many people come here to break into the showbiz and make their dreams come true, and for that, I always felt blessed being a Los Angeles native. In addition to my innate passion for the arts and creative expression, what inspired me to go into film, was actually the lack of representation of minorities and female filmmakers. A lack of representation that you still see today in film, not only onscreen but behind the lens as well, in the production offices, on set and in “above-the-line” positions. It is still a struggle for female and minority filmmakers to be a part of major budget productions and studio deals. As a young girl, I fantasized about starring in Hollywood Blockbuster films, only to find out that strong-female-lead roles for people of color were few and far between. I realized that if I wanted to see more representation, I would have to create it myself, and not wait for the industry to tell our stories and create strong roles for us. I didn’t wait for permission, I started my company and started creating. Positive representation in film has a huge impact on our culture, identity and psyche. Our stories matter, our voices need to be heard, our perspectives are valid and relevant and we shouldn’t have to wait in line to be recognized. This is why I pursued a creative career, for my souls expression and to continue to push the culture forward.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a fulltime filmmaker, writer and director. I own a small video production company with my partner Kenneth Cuadrado called KYNA MEDIA FILMS, based in Studio City/North Hollywood, CA. We provide industry-standard services in all aspects of the film production process from preproduction, production and post production. We create a high quality combination of beautiful, cinematic, imagery, plus music, lighting and editing, giving our clients competitive content and original visuals that recreate their unique stories to share with their audience. specializes in a variety of video production services from, eye-popping music videos, romantic weddings, to mind-opening documentaries. We understand the importance of having captivating visuals that tell an authentic story, entertain and inspire. As minority filmmakers, we recognize our responsibility in telling stories that represent and amplify the voices of underrepresented people and communities. We work with major recording artists and record labels as well as up and coming independent artists. Our work has received over 70 million views combined. Our original short films have been major winners and finalists in several film festivals including, “My RØDE Reel” by RØDE Microphones and Moment Invitational Film Festival (MIFF) by Moment. It’s important for creatives to not only master their craft but to learn the business and to really understand the industry of their choice. Brining talent to the entertainment industry is like bringing sand to the beach. You have to find a way to stand out, and bring something new that the industry needs. That has got to be one of the biggest challenges. It’s definitely easier said than done! I still have a long, long way to go but I got to where I am today by learning all that I can about the entertainment industry. I’ve read (and still reading) tons of books about both the film and music industry. I watch YouTube videos and interviews from countless sources about the industry and success stories of the greats who paved the way. I even watched a handful of master classes. I created my own strategy based on everything I learn and continue to adjust my strategy and learn all that I can. As in most industries, it’s all about developing professional relationships that are mutually beneficial for all involved. I got to where I am not only because of the quality of work we deliver, but because of the many genuine business friendships I maintained through the years. People who believe in my work ethic and talent who reached out to me when opportunities came around. Those relationships with people who know your value and understand your art, are priceless. We are very fortunate to work with some amazing talented people that we get to create awesome content with. We absolutely love what we do. It’s hard work, often working with minimal cast, crew and small budgets, but we are passionate about making lasting impressions with our art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
LA is incredibly beautiful, I would recommend checking out the awesome views by going to as many hike trails as you can, like Malibu Creek, Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon. The beaches are a must, Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Go to the Observatory, Check out some art exhibits at Broad Museum, or LACMA Go to City Walk & Universal Studios. Check out some improv shows at The Groundlings Theater Bowling at Lucky Strike in Hollywood Vintage clothing shops and boutiques on Melrose Eat at: Something Vegan – in Toluca Lake, HealthyCA – in Studio City Aroma Coffee & Tea Co. – Studio City Tocaya Organica (multiple locations) Toi on Sunset – in Hollywood Leo’s Taco Truck – in Glassell Park Salt & Straw in Studio City Lenzini’s Pizza – Studio City The Grove – West Hollywood
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I will always be a product of my parents’ unconditional love, guidance and support, they raised me to be a freethinking, stubborn creative. Forever grateful to my family for encouraging my dreams and being a part of my films. And of course, I have to acknowledge my incredibly talented partner, cinematographer, Kenneth Cuadrado who makes all our films look so amazing with jaw-dropping visuals and stunning shots. Within the industry, I am immeasurably inspired by the African American female filmmakers and creators who have paved the way such as, Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, Oprah Winfrey, Debbie Allen, Regina King, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Nia DaCosta and more. Their success absolutely trickles down and speaks to me, showing me that it is possible for Women of Color to have a seat at the table. A table that has been predominantly male and overwhelmingly white for so long. If it hadn’t been for the success of minority filmmakers both men and women, I probably would’ve never had the courage and audacity to pursue filmmaking.
Instagram: instagram.com/kyndrakennedy and instagram.com/kynamedia
Other: Here’s our latest short film: “Of Salt & Sand” https://youtu.be/aNc5Z7XbnZ8
KYNA MEDIA FILMS