Spotlight

Feature Emily McDonald’s Talent for Human Storytelling

Championed by Bunny Kinney
Visual Arts
The Wick - Film still, Emily McDonald
Above  Film still, Emily McDonald
ONES TO
WATCH
ONES TO
WATCH
The Wick - Emily McDonald
Above  Emily McDonald
Interview
Emily McDonald and Bunny Kinney
25 August 2021
Interview
Emily McDonald and Bunny Kinney
25 August 2021
A tour de force in the world of modern publishing, there’s no end to Bunny Kinney’s talents. Working as a filmmaker and a writer, he is currently the creative director of arts and culture video platform Nowness, as well as the editorial director of Dazed Media. Committed to harnessing new opportunities around digital media, in 2017 he launched Dazed Beauty, committed to redefining the language and communication of the industry. He has previously worked as a creative director of i-D, and collaborated with numerous brands in the fashion, beauty and luxury sector – among them Dior and Burberry.

As a natural storyteller, Kinney is interested in other creatives and artists whose work challenges the status quo and offers new perspectives on human experiences. When he first encountered documentary and commercial director Emily McDonald, their affinity was a natural one.
‘Emily and I first became acquainted many years ago when she edited a number of short films I produced,’ Kinney recalls. ‘Since then, I’ve watched her effortlessly evolve as a director and filmmaker, specialising in beautiful, short documentary films that centre on character-driven stories about the human experience.’

‘Her most moving and empathetic films often focus on queer individuals whose experiences Emily translates and broadcasts to the world using her gift of storytelling. These stories might otherwise go unheard and unrecognized if not for artists like her.’

Emily’s work focuses on uncovering honest and unique stories that challenges cultural ideas within our society. After an early and varied introduction to the film industry, she hit upon documentary directing and hit the ground running – while still learning on her feet. Approachable and open-minded, she is passionate about connecting with other people no matter who they are. This leads her to tell compelling stories about human experiences, and the subjects of her films are often people she has met at street level.

Emily often also draws inspiration from the medium itself. ‘People are always telling me to get a hobby, but genuinely film and tv are my hobbies. Primarily I like to watch documentaries because I’m fascinated by people but I will watch pretty much anything from independent cinema to reality shows – because I think it’s interesting to take in as many different perspectives of the world as possible. You can learn a lot about humanity by observing how different people react/interact with each other and I draw a lot of inspiration and learning from just sitting and watching!’

Based like Kinney in London, Emily is constantly inspired by the rich spectrum of culture and humanity in the city around her. ‘I am very lucky to have a super diverse circle of friends that I’ve met over the years being in London and if you’re open-minded and interested, pretty much everyone you meet will have a story that interests and inspires you.’

With BFI-screened documentaries under her belt, Emily has been recognised by the Flare Film Festival as one of six emerging LGBT filmmakers – and there is plenty coming up. ‘I’ve been wanting to move from short to long form documentaries and have had something in the works for nearly three years that I am hoping to get to the US by the end of this year to start shooting. It follows some of the same themes from my shorter form work around addiction and social change and it’s a story that I think needs to be done in feature length to really do the women in it justice.’

It is testament to Kinney’s own words on Emily: ‘She’s an incredibly hard-working creative and eternally supportive friend. I’m so excited to see what she creates next.’ So are we.

About the champion

The Wick - Bunny Kinney

Bunny Kinney is a UK-based filmmaker and creative director originally from Canada. He is currently the creative director of arts and culture video platform Nowness and the editorial director of Dazed Media. In 2017 he launched Dazed Beauty. Prior to that, he worked as a creative director for i-D. He has worked for a number of clients in fashion, beauty and luxury including Dior, Givenchy, Chanel, Burberry and many more.

“Emily is passionate about representing outsiders and those on the margins of society in her work.”

Bunny Kinney

Place of Birth

I was born in Sunny Glasgow, Scotland….

Education

I left school at 16 with a couple of GCSEs to my name

Awards, Accolades

I won a Gold Young Directors Award at Cannes. My film ‘The Hardest Word’ was selected for BFI London Film Festival, and another film ‘Incomplete’ selected for BFI Flare Film Festival where I was selected as one of 6 emerging LGBT filmmakers. London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival + BAFTAS Mentorship programme and most recently got a Vimeo Staff Pick for a film I made called ‘Looking Back With Pride’ as part of British Vogue’s Pride Series

Spiritual guides, Mentors

I don’t really have a ‘spiritual guide’ per se, but Bunny interprets all my dreams

Advice

Try not to compare your journey or style of working with someone else’s. Spend as much time acknowledging your own strengths as you do other people’s

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