Feature Emily McDonald’s Talent for Human Storytelling
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.
‘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
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.