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Header image for article AbelCine Staff Spotlight: Kalyn Jacobs

AbelCine Staff Spotlight: Kalyn Jacobs

For our latest Staff Spotlight, we're chatting with one of the newer additions to our Rental team in New York: Kalyn Jacobs. By day, she's a Junior Rental Technician, keeping our rental gear clean and functioning to manufacturer specifications. But on her own time, she's been crushing it as a DP, AC, and photographer. Read about her latest projects and some of her influences.

Photos by Zhen Qin
Photos by Zhen Qin

AbelCine: Tell us a bit about your experience outside of AbelCine.

Kalyn Jacobs: I work as a cinematographer, photographer, and Assistant Camera. At the moment, I’m currently reading the Harry Box book and seeking more grip and electric experience. I personally think it’s really important to be well rounded as a filmmaker and, as a DP, I would like to know how to work and rig the lights I’m directing.

I recently shot a short film called #METOO, directed by Gabi Faye, which should be making its debut this fall. Another film I shot, Dicky & Flo, directed by Trevor Kravits, is making its way through film festivals. The film, to date, has won two Best Actress awards for star Julia Sweeney’s performance.

What’s your best advice when it comes to choosing the right equipment for any given project?

Always work with equipment you are comfortable operating. It is the absolute worst feeling to be on set and not really know how to operate a piece of equipment you’re supposed to be using; not to mention it slows the production down while you’re trying to troubleshoot and learn on the fly. Always use the day before to spend time working with any gear that brings you hesitation. And if you don’t have access to the equipment prior to the shoot date, head to a local rental house (like AbelCine!) to familiarize yourself with the gear.

What do you love most about the industry?

What I love most about film, and art in general, is its ability to emotionally grab hold of its audience. The best films I’ve come across have always pulled me in to the character’s emotional state and put me right in their shoes. One of the greatest skills a filmmaker can have is to be able to understand the complexities of emotions and be able to build and shape a world around them. My mission as an artist is to create emotional, visual experiences — whether that be through film or photography.

Who’s one of your biggest influences when it comes to your work?

One of my favorite DPs is Bradford Young! The man’s work is truly amazing. From his approach to lighting actors of color in films such as Mother of George, to his keen eye in visually depicting the emotions of the characters in the film Selma, he is truly an inspiration. As a young DP of color, it’s so refreshing to see another person out here breaking down barriers and succeeding in an industry where we are few and far between. He also happens to be a Chicago native and alum of Howard University, like myself.

This interview has been slightly edited and condensed. 

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