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Kiara Jones: Bombay Sapphire Finalist

From 2013 – The Bombay Sapphire Imagination Awards are now down to four with the final selection made from nine films were shortlisted for their originality and imagination and from these four winners selected:

  • Anthony Khaseria, a screenwriter from London, for his film ‘Reflections’
  • Maite Fernandez, a bookseller and comedian from Spain, for her film ‘Grafitti Area’
  • Chris Cornwell, a screenwriter from London, for his film ‘Exit Log’
  • Kiara Jones, a film student from the U.S., Jacksonville, Fl. for her film ‘The Other Side of the Game’

The four winners will now participate in producing and directing their own individual films, which will be premiered in early 2014.  To see the winners and hear more about their films and experiences during the production process visit

I spoke to her about her journey in 2013

Tony Tellado: Really glad to talk to you , the first American winner. That’s awesome.

Kiara Jones:  Thank you. I didn’t realize I was the first American winner.And I’m like, “I guess I am.”They didn’t have one last year.It’s so special.

Tony Tellado: First of all because you were in the Air Force, and we had Veteran’s Day, I think I can join a lot of people and thank you for the service that you did for our country. Very proud of you as well for that.

Kiara Jones: Thank You. I appreciate that.

Tony Tellado: It’s been an interesting  journey for you to where you are now as a finalist.You were in the Air Force and was also working as a broadcaster in radio and television. Was film something that was in the back of your mind that kind of worked its way towards the front ?

Kiara Jones:  I think I have always been a story teller.When I was younger I loved to do poetry and I loved to hold court as my mother would say. When family and friends would come over, I used to like to tell stories and get people laughing that sort of thing. So I think it’s all been an evolution of storytelling along the way. Using imagination to get people to understand each one another’s experiences.In broadcasting, what I loved to was those stories that I stepped into the lives of people for a moment and allowed you to experience things.Part of the reason why I had such a great career in broadcasting was that I tried to bring the humanity  to the stories even though it was a lot of military stories. I tried to find ways to touch people’s individual lives.

Tony Tellado:  After your service you actually ended up in Las Vegas.That was an interesting turn there too for you.

Kiara Jones:  It was. How do you end up in Las Vegas ? I followed a boy.I don’t recommend anyone ever do ever.I was in love and followed my heart . If we are what we say we are and have a chance to go anywhere in the world and I don’t go to be with him, what does that say about that ? I went to Vegas and three months later the relationship was over.So I had to make the best of it. Vegas is an interesting.It’s a very transient place.People are passing through…kind of an invisible place.There’s not a lot of sense of community and family and that sort of thing.It’s fascinating.It’s vibrant, alive and moving really fast but not connected.I felt like I couldn’t get my feet planted anywhere.I felt that there wasn’t a place to belong.There was nothing to belong to. I had a wonderful job there. Worked with really great people.Traveled a lot. I did great work. I did a lot of corporate work. It was an evolution in my story telling with marketing and branding and try to reach people in that way.

Tony Tellado: Then you went to a New York film school.

Kiara Jones: My family is originally from New York. My mom and my dad.I grew up in Jacksonville, but we would go there in the summers. I loved coming because everything was happening in such compact spaces.I remem ber driving by the projects thinking it was a fascinating place. “Look at all the people that you live next to.There’s a store near there and a playground.” In Florida, you have to get into a ccar drive to go to a store.And the school is way over there.Our entire neighborhood could live in the building that I now live in New York. It was the time of my life that I am young, I’m single. I said that I need a real purpose to leave this great job that I have in Las Vegas and this wonderful life that I have built for myself and go to New York.

Tony Tellado: It sounds like that’s where you honed your skills. Writing, directing and producing films.

Kiara Jones:  I didn’t know that it was all coming to this. I thought that I would be a novelist or something.But the more that I got into visual storytelling, the more that I loved it.You get to touch so many of the senses in that way and captivate the audience.Film school was so great because they put you in this microcosm of the most interesting different people that you could ever possibly meet.We’re all zeroed out at that point. It doesn’t really matter where you came from.What your experiences were, what your social economic background was, or what nation you lived in before. What ever happened to you before we all landed here in this place now. So we all started from zero.They strip everything away from your for your first project.We had this MOS project that was four minutes, no dialogue, no special effects, no sound. It’s basically you, the camera, and the actors.The question is do you know where to put the camera ? And how to tell the actors what to do to connect with an audience ? It gets you right down to it. No fancy dancing.All the technological tools that we had at the time, they take them all away and say, “No.” Here’s your chalk and here is your chalkboard, so tell us a story.

Tony Tellado: From there you had a short, “Barbasol” and that won an award at the Urbanworld Film Festival. That must have told you that I’m into something here..

Kiara Jones:  Actually my first MOS short was called “Basura” .That short traveled all over the place.It went to like twenty festivals.It was on PBS. It won the Lifetime Every Woman’s Film Competition.That little tiny film went all over the place. This is my first time being an artist.I’ve been a story teller and using these talents commercially for a while.But as an artist, this was my chance to say something and this is what I want to say.And people were actually interested and that was just thrilling.I said, “Wow. Ok. Let’s talk some more.” Then I had a film called “After” that did well , then “Amazon Women” So “Barabsol” is actually like my fifth film.

Tony Tellado: So now you’re one of the finalists in the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Film Series.

Kiara Jones:  Everyday I have to remind myself how great these moments are. As you know as an artist there’s constant struggle. What is the amazing thing about the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series is that it’s probably one of the best prizes you can win. You get to make a film without having the stress of making a film.They are going to help you produce the film.They are actually going to help us (filmmakers) create this work.After the writing is done and all of the pain and strife of filmmaking  which is a really challenge and has been for many, many years.Many filmmakers have talked about it. I was looking at this Orson Welles quote that said that it’s “Ninety eight percent hustle and two percent filmmaking.It’s no way to live as an art.” Bombay Sapphire is going  to take that burden away.So now the work is done.The writing is done.So we just get to explore the possibilities of imagination which is a beautiful thing.I am going to wallow in the pleasure of that through this entire process.Nothing that this film will be seen is blissful and tickles me every single time.

Special thanks to Nike Communications

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