Written By: Zach Champ
Edited By: Journey Clark
Photos By: Steve Gonzalez, Geo Rosendi, and Others
Hoodie Goodies recently sat down and interviewed local film director Khiry Savoy, a long-time resident and native of Washington D.C.
Khiry is one of our new team members at Hoodie Goodies and is a student with LA Film Connection, as well as an intern at Washington Digital Media.
He talks to us about directing and making films, as well as his recent 48 Hour Film Festival Project. He also remarks on how growing up in the DMV helped shape him as a director and film-maker.
Read the interview below, only on our DMV Music and Art blog, here at Hoodie Goodies!
Hoodie Goodies: So who are you and what do you do?
Khiry: "My name is Khiry Savoy and I am a 24-year-old native of Washington, D.C."
Khiry: "I’m a former college athlete that played football as a wide receiver, and I consider myself a competitive and driven individual. I’m the type of person that wakes up every day and dreams about their future!"
Khiry: "One of my dreams has always been to be a film-maker and director, and now I am pursuing that dream as a film-student with LA Film Connection, and as an intern with Washington Digital Media.”
Hoodie Goodies: Where in the DMV are you from?
How does that influence who you are and your film-making?
Khiry: "So, I was born and raised in uptown Washington, D.C. I did move to Texas as a kid for a few years, but eventually moved back as a teenager. My family is from D.C. My mom works for a local non-profit, and my Dad now lives in Texas and works as a regional manager for a car dealership. My mom is also a minister in our local church!"
Khiry: "Growing up in D.C was fun for me! I was able to experience a lot of cool things, including all the museums, the national monuments, the Zoo. I basically grew up with all that stuff right there for me to enjoy in my backyard. So I always enjoyed that aspect of being a kid in D.C."
Khiry: "When I was young, I did get exposed to some of the negative things related to living in the inner-city, I remember seeing drugs and guns at a young age, but at the same time those things never really negatively impacted me as much as it did some of my fellow friends and peers. Even the older guys around the neighborhood would look out and try and steer me and my friends towards positive activities and focusing on sports and not getting involved with selling drugs and things like that. I had good parents. Like I said, my mom is a minister in our local church, so she always has looked out for me and been on me about doing the right thing haha."
Khiry: "A lot of people associate Washington, D.C, with weed and marijuana. For me, weed is pretty important; I’ve been around it my whole life, pretty much. I’ve been smoking since I was a kid and it helps me stay creative, do my work, and enjoy myself."
Khiry: "One of my favorite childhood memories growing up in Washington, D.C is the Georgia Avenue Day local parade. This is a yearly parade and a Caribbean-themed festival that I’ve gone to since I was a child. When I think of D.C and home, I think about the parade and how fun it would be. I always remember enjoying the community, culture, and delicious food! Everyone is outside, families and friends are gathered around, it’s just a good time!"
Hoodie Goodies: So how did you become a director?
Khiry: "When I was young, I was always into cameras. Me, my cousin, and my friends would often try and record music videos of us drumming and singing. My favorite thing to do would always be to film and tell my friends what to do and how to pose and act."
Khiry: "Going through middle school and high school, I was an athlete and extremely focused on sports. I was able to play football in college, which was a blessing, but I eventually found myself being drawn to other activities. I felt like God was calling me towards a different purpose."
Khiry: "Once I finished my athletic career, I had to reassess who I was. I was trying to figure out what to focus my energy and time on. I wanted to figure out what I wanted to do for a career. After a lot of thinking I realized I needed to go back to my roots as a kid making videos. I always have loved movies and always wanted to make my own. I realized that making movies was my dream, and I was going to do whatever I needed to do to pursue it."
Khiry: "I wanted to start out, originally, by being an actor and learning by taking acting classes. I had this train of thought that, if I wanted to make films, I would need to be able to understand how to act in films, so I could effectively communicate my vision to others I work with on-set."
Khiry: "I shifted my focus from acting to directing and enrolled in film school with the LA Film Connection. As a film student, I was able to finally begin learning the technical skills I need to begin directing my own films."
Khiry: "Once I was in film school, I had the opportunity to also participate in an internship with Washington Digital Media. As an intern with Washington Digital Media, I have been able to get real-world working experience in the digital media industry. I’ve been learning about pre and post-production techniques and processes, as well as how to set-up live-streams, create cinematic videos, and edit amazing films. Everyone I work with is great and I’ve learned a lot."
Hoodie Goodies: Why is film important?
Khiry: "Film is important to me because it serves as an outlet to go and explore other worlds. I really like the escapism aspect of films and movies."
Khiry: "You can have a bad day and watch a good movie and it can change your mood and turn your whole day around. Films and movies are powerful like that. Films help us connect emotionally with others and ourselves, we can explore different emotions with film and understand the full range of human experience."
Khiry: "I like to explore different emotions. If I want to be scared I know I can watch a good horror movie and get frightened. If I want to laugh I can put on a good comedy and enjoy myself."
Hoodie Goodies: What is your goal as a film-maker and director?
Khiry: "My goal as a filmmaker is to become one of the best. I really want to master my craft and grow. Right now I’m in a good place and environment, learning from some amazing people and I have some real opportunities to pursue my dream and take things to the next level."
Khiry: "As a director, I want to make films that people enjoy and which impact culture. I want to make those great Hollywood hits and movies that inspire and excite people worldwide. My goal is to become well known for making great works of art that reflect where I come from and the experiences that have shaped me as a person and made me who I am today."
Hoodie Goodies: What was your most recent project?
Khiry: "My most recent project was for the 48 Hour Film Festival project. This was a contest that our team at Washington Digital Media competed in. For the 48 Hour Film Festival, teams have a weekend to complete their own short films and submit them. During this time they have to do everything from writing the script, to filming the scenes, to editing the video. We had a small team work together to complete our entry for the festival. It’s a great challenge for any film-makers looking to gauge their skills and talent."
Khiry: "We ended up developing the short-film, The Exorcism of Olivia Fox, as our entry for the contest. You can watch it below!"
Khiry: "In addition to the 48 Hour Film Festival Project, I also have been working on a music video that will be released next month. The music video is also a short-film based on concepts and themes explored in the song."
Hoodie Goodies: How do you develop the ideas for your films?
Khiry: "When it comes to developing the ideas for my films, it depends on the situation. For instance, the 48 Hour Film Festival was an organized contest. The Friday that the contest starts, teams have to meet up at the contest headquarters and draw topics from a hat. The topics range from everything from robots to vampires; but, in general, have a science fiction or horror theme. The category we drew was ‘horror/comedy’."
Khiry: "Once we had our category, we had to come up with a script and concept as a team. This actually was one of the more challenging and time-consuming parts of the process. Everyone on the team had good ideas, and we spent several hours trying to lock in our story and find a way to incorporate everyone’s ideas into a cohesive concept. We realized very quickly we wouldn’t be able to make everyone happy so we had to make some concessions with the plot and script, but overall I think we came up with a solid plot concept."
Khiry: "Once we had the script completed, we had essentially 24 hours to capture our shots, film the scenes, and edit the video. While filming, I will sometimes be inspired on-set to capture a shot a certain way or to alter the script or dialogue slightly because I will see the actors performing on camera and realize that certain moments can be portrayed slightly better than originally planned. I almost always know what my shots are going to look like before I film, and usually do storyboards to help me organize my ideas before filming."
Khiry: "For my music videos and other projects, I usually try and find ways to explore relevant themes within the music and explore those visually. I try to stay ahead of the curb and explore new ideas in my works by drawing on experiences from other cultures and blending ideas together. For instance, with The Exorcism of Olivia Fox, we were inspired by the classic Exorcism films, as well as the comedy of fart jokes, and were able to find a way to relate the two in one concept. Creating this contrast between these two seemingly unrelated topics is how we were able to create the comedic effect and set the tone of the short-film."
Hoodie Goodies: How is being a director challenging?
What problems do you have to figure out on-set and off-set?
Khiry: "There are several challenges to being a director. You have to know how to work with diverse groups of people with different skill and talent levels. You have to know how to explain and get people to understand your vision. Even trying to establish yourself and make a name for yourself is a huge challenge. I’ve experienced all of these things. You just have to keep trying and keep learning and growing."
Hoodie Goodies: What are 3 films that influence you as a film-maker? Why?
Khiry: "That’s a good question. I have a lot of movies that I enjoy and which have inspired me, so choosing just 3 is hard. I’d have to say probably Friday, Training Day, and Bad Boys 1 and 2, off the top of my head."
Khiry: "Friday, by director F. Gary Gray was a really influential film to me because of the connection for me as a black artist and director. Friday is just essential and important to black culture in America and was one of the first widely popular black comedy films. It allowed many Americans to relate to common experiences I had known and gone through growing up as a young black man in America, and it did so in a light-hearted and amusing way. There are other films out there that talk about the same subject matter as Friday, and which are much more darker and dramatic, but Friday appeals to me exactly because of how silly it is."
Khiry: "Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day was such a dope action film and is to me one of his best movies. I love Denzel Washington’s character so much. This movie captivated me as a young person, and I always wanted to make a movie like this."
Khiry: "Michael Bay is a legendary Director, and one of my favorite films of his is the Bad Boys series. Bad Boys was just so hot! The whole Miami Vice and big Hollywood action flick vibes really made that such a cool film series. Both Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are among my favorite actors. I always wanted to make a big-budget film like Bad Boys."
Hoodie Goodies: What projects do you have planned for the future?
Khiry: "My next release is going to be a short-film music video for the song “Doin Me” by fellow D.C artist, and close friend of mine, Joey Loud. Shout-out Joey Loud…! Everyone go follow them on social media."
Khiry: "I’m doing both the filming, the editing, and the directing for the music video. I developed the visual concept which is based on the song’s lyrical theme and content. Right now I am currently finishing the final cut and will soon be releasing the video on my YouTube and Instagram."
Khiry: "Once I finish the music video I will be starting on a short film called “Scarlet’s Revenge” which is based on a script I wrote. It’s basically about an evil twin, and it’s a revenge story, and it will have some interesting plot angles and vibes. I’m excited to start that one and it will help me grow further in my directing and film-making journey."
Hoodie Goodies is excited to see what happens next with Khiry on his film-making and directing journey.
We wish him the best of luck and thank him for giving us the time to complete this interview!
Make sure to stay up to date with Khiry’s work by following him on social media and subscribing to their YouTube channel below!