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Daily Inspiration: Meet Christian Kazadi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christian Kazadi.

Hi Christian, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I am a Congolese South African. I left Congo at the age of four in 1996 and moved to South Africa with my parents and younger sibling. Growing up in South African was challenging with ups and downs. South Africa at the time was still recovering from Apartheid. But as I grew up, there was a huge change in the country as people became more optimistic about the future. As the years went by, three younger siblings were born and my family grew to a total of seven.

I Schooled at Monument Primary School. I graduated from King Edward VII High school for boys and pursued a degree in filmmaking at the University of Johannesburg. I Majored in Anthropology, Communications, and Filmmaking. In the USA, I attended UCLA for cinematography.

I started off as an editor in South Africa, doing minor projects like music videos for up and coming artists in my city. I got tired off city in the post room and decided to give cinematography a go. I would meet up with a good friend of mine who was a DJ and he had access to artist. We would get current clients and offer to shoot music videos for them at a lower rate. Shooting music videos increased my passion for cinematography. This is where I learnt most of my photographic skills, understanding how different lights and the way ones shapes them can affect the image. After the passing of a close family friend who used to encourage me to leave the country and work abroad, I decided to pack everything up and pursue filmmaking in the USA, that’s how I landed here.

I fell in love with filmmaking at a young age. But it was always something I put in my back pocket as I focused on school and hopefully going professional in my Rugby career. I would initially study finances but found that it was not something that I could see myself doing in future.

I currently live in Los Angeles and I am a cinematographer, Editor and sometimes Director. In South African, I worked with the likes of Kwesta one of South Africa’s biggest artists in music videos to American artists Estro and G’san and more.

As a Director in the states, I directed a number of shorts s as a horror named 24Hours Blind(2019) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9543180/?ref_=ext_shr_lnk

Which is a short to his feature-length script of the same name, Blinkers(2019), https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9005646/?ref_=ext_shr_lnk

BottomRockers (2018) and the upcoming horror short Chair (2019). In 2019 I directed a feature, “Creatures Of Necessity” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10741388/?ref_=ext_shr_lnk

due to come out in late 2022 and another feature in 2021 by the name Exceptional Beings https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13178934/?ref_=ext_shr_lnk

Having written a number of features, I’m currently in process of writing a series for streaming.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road getting here, no. Like all immigrants, it’s been a struggle getting situated into a new country. For me, I have been an immigrant all my life so it’s felt like a lifelong challenge.

There has also being the obstacle of finances and getting that one project that shoot up career into the next level. Open doors that will help you make a difference in the lives of others. It’s hard to help others when you are also fighting for air.

Though these obstacles are exist, there are always moments that remind you why you do what you do. It serves as a motivation to the soul. Moment like finally being able to finish building a $6000 editing workstation. Or seeing a film that you have worked on for years with no pay finally come to streaming. Or more personal reasons, family backing me every time you down.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a filmmaker. It’s hard to say what exactly I specialize in because in most if not all projects I have worked on, I have had 2 or 3 roles from Editor, Cinematographer and Director and sometimes even a grip.

I know it sounds like a lot, and the saying that goes a Jack of all trades is a master of none tends to be through my way when I mention that I have so many skills. But people tend to forget what the rest of that saying says. It goes like this” a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” That being said, my skills have been able to support me. Financially I have been able to take on any role, rather than just wait on the one like cinematography. In my case, if there is no work for Cinematography, I work as an Editor or grip or whatever my skills allow.

These skills are something I’m proud of. My ultimate goal in the film industry is to be able to tell my own story, African Stories, either as a producer or Director. Working in all departments has helped me to understand the process of filmmaking better. One day African stories will be sort after just like that of the Asian and specifically the Korean film industry. And I want to be at the forefront of it.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
That everything I do should leave a mark that challenges the individual. Family is more important than we realize and so are good people.

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