Koby Adom: The Path To His Calling
Words: Venetia Faye Acquah
The UK Film and TV industry is booming at the moment. There’s a rise in talented individuals getting their well-earned opportunities and being put into the positions they deserve; each journey is a unique one but ultimately leads to someone finding their calling.
For Writer and Director, Koby Adom, the path to his calling is an extremely insightful one. Growing up in Thamesmead, South London, Koby hadn’t always known that making films would become his passion. Koby has had an interest in Literature from a very young age, writing poetry for his primary school anthology; his ability to tell stories was being utilised without him even realising. Whether it was describing the secondary school drama to his friends or events outside school. One could argue that his calling was within him the entire time.
“The journey started with being able to edit material that I shot. I saw how obsessed I was with the process and my spirit was constantly searching to continue that. I just wanted to keep doing it”.
Koby studied Sociology and Media in college, where he was exposed to the media industry for the first time. With this budding interest, he self taught and exercised his skills by shooting videos for his friends. After completing his degree, Koby followed his passion and went on to the renowned London Film School. Working tirelessly to fund his Masters in Filmmaking, he found a love for directing and creating stories. Even though he wanted to pursue a career as a Director Of Photography initially. Koby realised that this is what he was meant to do and credits film school as an important part of his journey to filmmaking.
With muses such as Steve McQueen and David Fincher, Koby’s knowledge of the art form is something that is truly admirable. His short film “ House Girl”, explores the African Diaspora and the culture clash that can often be experienced by members of the diaspora. Not only a relatable topic to explore, but one that is very interesting in decoding the differences in attitude towards the people in Africa and their attitudes towards people in the UK. With stunning performances from the actors, Koby’s directing has been executed excellently. With Koby finding his love for directing in film school, describing it as something that “stuck to his spirit” it has become a key part of his skillset, being able to guide talent is something that is extremely compelling. Koby spoke about his experience working with actors and actresses from Ghana; he detailed that, “they have that sensitivity that needs to be tapped into from a directors point of view. On a personal level, I allow them to trust me, I assure them that I will not violate that trust”.
Koby’s versatility is intriguing; his ability to present untold stories is something that he does not shy away from. He strikes us as someone who would like to change the narrative and delve into topics that some may not. Koby has a significant relationship with God and dedicates time to giving back to God in any way he can, including making sure faith is present in his work. Whether that is “writing a script visualising the spiritual world” or “ honouring God as much as [he] can with every story”. A perspective that is not explored very frequently, Koby is committed to making sure these stories are “still sticking to the truth of the situation”. Koby is unapologetically himself, which is refreshing and a testament to the work he produces. It is fair to say he has been through and seen a lot of things, but is passionate about putting his life into his work and taking the audience on that journey. Making films that “put you on the gravel, so it’s almost like you can smell the curb”. Koby is taking the audience into these spaces, and into his culture.
Although there’s an importance to tell authentic stories with authentic characters, stereotypes can often make or break a story, and in some cases be reinforcing negative perspectives. Still, Koby is able to limit the chances that using stereotypes will be of detriment. “We’re dealing with relatable things, we have to make sure that these things are just ingredients and they’re not the face of what you’re making. There’s a story arc, an emotional one, that talks about life and universal problems”. This ideal is truly reflected in Koby’s work. In Koby’s film “Haircut”, which focuses on a Jamaican barber, who has a barbershop in South London, the barber has dreams of becoming a dancehall artist, but on a specific day his shop gets “stuck up” and as a result of that, he reconsiders his desires because he has a responsibility in the area. Koby explains, “there’s guns, drugs, violence [and] black people in there. But those aren’t the face of the film, those are just the ingredients of the world. In that world, it is what it is. But it is what you choose to focus on”. Koby’s attention to detail is sincere and is one of the reasons he is becoming so successful.
Koby is being rewarded for his natural storytelling and his ability to stay true to himself. He was recently featured in Screen Daily’s “Stars of Tomorrow” which listed him as one of the people to watch in 2019. The list is extremely prestigious and he is so deserving. From working as a second unit Director on hit show “Top Boy” and having his films screened at Festivals around the world, this is only the beginning for Koby Adom and it is set to get better.
So, the most interesting question here is, What’s next for Koby Adom? Well, Koby has landed a major role, as a Director on the adaptation of one of the most iconic books in the UK``Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses. The series is set to be produced by BBC, Mammoth Screen and partly by Jay Z’s Roc Nation. It's greatly anticipated and we are excited to see Koby’s take on the story. Koby is also working on his first feature “SE28” in which he described as “a film loosely based on his upbringing in Thamesmead. Koby has teased that his next film “questions our thoughts about humanity”. We look forward to hearing more about Koby’s Work and seeing his success.