17th March 2015
9 Shots
Title of film: Khuli Chana, 9 shots
Director: Kyle Lewis
South African Hip hop artist Khuli chana was shot by police when he was mistaken for a kidnapper. Now upcoming director Kyle Lewis, who won South Africa's top Music Video award last year, has created a rich portrayal about the artist for his latest release

Can you tell us please how you evolved this narrative. Did you have a brief, and was there one idea that everything else flowed from?

Khuli Chana is the most open-minded artist I’ve had the pleasure to work with. He told me the elements he wanted to convey but gave me free rein to create visuals. The core message is forgiveness… and the fact that Khuli had the courage to forgive inspired me to create and conceptualize the video.

The stunning montage of portraits you have filmed has a tone as rich as some of the oil paintings you use as a backdrop. Did you collaborate with an art director to create these images and did you achieve the tone in camera or was there a lot of post production?

I’m a firm believer in creating as much on camera as possible; in fact there isn’t a single effects shot in the video. I was the art director and producer on this project as budget was limited and I know how to wangle a few deals and sponsorships. All blurring and title overlays were done on old-school transparency sheets and broken glass.

What were the main challenges of creating 9 Shots?

The biggest challenge was the fact that Khuli didn’t want to be in the video at all. So the challenge was to incorporate his essence and brand so it was distinctively a Khuli Chana video without him in it.

You certainly can’t be pigeon holed with one particular style – At the other end of the colour spectrum your film for Toya Delazy, Forbidden Fruit, uses block colours and is completely zany. Was this a straightforward production, any major challenges on this?

The Toya video came at a time where I wanted to explore colour and the ways in which it could be used. I try with each of my projects to have my style but completely change the tone/ styling.

You won last year’s South African Music Video award for The Parlotones. How has this impacted on your career?

The SAMA took me from being a young wannabe director to director. It was such an unexpected honour but it has allowed me to move onto the next phase of my career, which is exciting.

What led you to the stage you’re at – are you self taught, did you go to film school, or were you a photographer?

I have my honours degree from AFDA. Being a director is something I knew I wanted from age 12. After film school, I decided to go a different route and started my own company. I have done more videos than I can count and will not stop until my dream is fully realized.

We hear you’ve got big hair – like how big?

Pretty large; it basically becomes a topic of most conversations I have…

How would you describe your creative process – do you sketch or write down ideas. Are you mentally framing scenes in normal life?

It differs with every project. Most of the time, I listen to the track for about 20 seconds and I can tell the direction I want to take it.

I spend my off days collecting and researching new images or artists doing what I feel is innovative work. When you see others thinking out the box, it gives you the confidence to think broader and not second guess your ideas.

What do you love doing when you’re not making films?

I love photography, especially fashion photography… The fearlessness of it excites me and inspires me to bring more into my work.

What’s coming up next?

We are currently working on a follow up to 9 Shots with Khuli Chana…and I can assure you it will be very unexpected.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I am grateful to artists and other creatives who support one another and push the African aesthetic. The talent in this country is immense and I am so excited to be South African at the beginning of a creative revolution, which I can see not only in film but in art, fashion design, poetry, music and design.


Khuli Chana, 9 Shots


Director: Kyle Lewis

Director of Photography: Roscoe Vercueil

Editor: Stephen du Plessis

Make-up & Styling: Kaley Meyer

A.D: Nic Eve

Focus Puller: Antonie Stemmet

Gaffer: Tannan Woods

Score: Tapiwa Musvosvi


Toya Delazy, Forbidden Fruit


Director: Kyle Lewis

Producer: Ali Wacher

Cinematographer: Zenn Van Zyl

Costume / hair / make-up: Kaley Meyer

Editor: Stephen Du Plessis

Grade: Roscoe Vercueil

Wardrobe: Akedo



Tumi Ft. Reason & Ziyon,  In Defence of My Art


Director: Kyle Lewis

Cinematography: Roscoe Vercueil

Producer: Chelsea MacMillan

Styling / make-up / hair: Kaley Meyer

Editor: Cathy Michel

Production designer: Grant McDonald



The Parlotones, Sleepwalker


Director: Kyle Lewis

Producer: Jonathan Degueldre

DOP: Roscoe Vercueil

Production Designer: Bianca Prinsloo

Editor: Cathy Michel

Visual effects: Blake Prinsloo