Please introduce yourself …
My name is Koby, I’m a film and tv director, writer and executive producer. I’m also the founder of DBK studios. I was born in Ivory Coast, but my parents are Ghanaian and so I’ve lived there for a few years but for the most part I’ve lived in the UK since I was about 4 and was raised in South East London.
Why & how did this project come about?
Coming into this industry, I experienced a range of obstacles and challenges that I’d like to prevent other Black and ethnic minority filmmakers from unfairly experiencing. Before writing and directing Haircut (2019), I didn’t have a foot in this industry, however after it was released, all the opportunities and success started pouring in my direction. I want to help others get that first foot in the door and champion ownership because we have always had the fewest opportunities in the industry and when we do, we have no say in the business end of things. With this project, I had always dreamed of setting up a production company, as well as helping others, so this was almost like killing two birds with one stone.
What’s the intention behind DBK Studios?
The intention behind DBK studios is to make film and tv content for untold stories, especially for black and diverse narratives.
Tell us about the Unearthed Narrative films and what they mean to you personally?
All of these films are representative of my community and my day to day life. In each of the stories, I feel heard and seen which is why I was excited to work on them in the first place.
‘Teju’s tale’ is special because it’s a story that the director’s Grandma told her about reflecting on her own experiences. She made it after being inspired by my own short film ‘House Girl’ (2016), which is a story my mum told me. It was after hearing about the inspiration behind House Girl that Teni went to go and speak to her grandma, several years later, here we are. This makes this film really special to me as it’s a story that reflects narratives close to home which is something I can relate to.
With ‘Daddy’s Girl’, it’s such an important film because it talks about being black and being a carer in the UK which is again something that I can relate to and yet we often don’t see reflected in the media. Also, I was intrigued by the exploration of juxtaposing social media with reality and how users get caught between the two.
‘Why me?’ is another really important film as I know a lot of people with sickle cell and so to be able to shine a light on their experiences, which often go unnoticed, was such a blessing.
‘Butterfly Affect’ is such an artistic yet incredibly important film that deals with black masculinity in the hood which is something that relates to me and my upbringing directly. I think it’s such a beautiful and engaging way to tell the next generation, who also live in the end, that it’s ok to just be themselves.
Finally ‘Fields‘ is a great story based on real life, narrating the life and commitment of a pastor. In this film we’re able to exist in her shoes, in a way that humanises her and showcases the glory of God, which as a Christian is the most important thing above all else.
Tell us some stand out memorable moments from idea to final production of these films?
I guess, delivering the films to Sky was a great moment for me, and especially being happy with each of them.
Share a skill-defining moment working on this project …
For me, as a mentor and executive producer, the greatest test of my skills were being fair, operating without bias, having sturdy boundaries to ensure the ethos of the production company is upheld throughout the process of producing the films.
DBK studios and Sky studios have struck further business following the back of this release, and so we look forward to sharing that with the world in due time. I’m also going to be writing, directing and producing my own tv series and feature film.
The Unearthed Narrative Series is available to watch via NOW TV
Find out more about DBK’s Unearthed Narrative filmmakers here