Close-Up Catch-Up: An Interview With Kim Bonifay

To celebrate five years of Close-Up Culture, we are welcoming our favourite interviewees back onto the site to see what they’ve been up to.

Creative Kim Bonifay returns to talk about her role on The Sex Lives Of College Girls, working on Akimbo Creation, paying homage to Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and much more.

Hi Kim, welcome back to Close-Up Culture! It’s been a crazy time in the world since we last spoke in 2019. How do you reflect on these past few years?

What a tough question. I think we all went into survival mode for a while. Looking back, I keep telling myself I could’ve done more with that time but I don’t think it was possible. There are months where I can’t even remember what I did on a day-to-day basis! So instead of focusing on this weird time that I’ll probably have to explain to my kids at some point, I’ll just focus on what’s next.

What challenges have you faced in that time and how have you grown, personally and artistically?

The best thing that came out of it was realising that I have a love for writing, content creation and entrepreneurship. My love and passion in this industry has always lied in creation. Even though acting initially satisfied that feeling, I was craving more. It led me to really look in the mirror and ask myself what I wanted out of this life. The answer – to spend time with the people who mean most to me and create (ideally with them).

Since our last interview, you had a fun role on Mindy Kaling’s and Justin Noble’s show, The Sex Lives Of College Girls. What was your experience being on the show?

It was so much fun! That was back in March of 2021, so a full year after the pandemic had started. It felt like I was welcomed back into the industry with open arms. It gave me confidence that there were still acting opportunities for me and that the film/TV industry was still alive and well.

The experience was humbling. Everyone was really kind on-set. The Covid procedures were respected, well-organised and seen as a blessing so we could go and do the thing we love most – tell stories. I was lucky enough to work with Zoe Cassavetes and Pauline Chalamet, among other talented actors. My favourite part was that everyone in that scene spoke French, so I got to go back to my roots and speak it all day alongside my co-stars and director. 

In our last interview, we spoke about your love of cinema. You recently posted a delightful video posing the question: ‘What if innocent Amelie grew up in today’s world?’ Can you tell us about the video and your inspiration for it?

This was a short film I wrote in college using the beginning credits of the film Amelie as a template to tell a slightly different story. I am a huge fan of Amelie, and it’s had such an impact on my life. Unfortunately, the fantasy-like childhood it depicts feels unattainable today. It led me to think of how the young woman was portrayed in the film and how it would be different for today’s young women.

This short film was created in the hopes to pay homage to Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the 20th anniversary of Amelie, but also to express that we might not pay enough attention to today’s youth and the secret lives they might be forced to live due to social pressures. I was actually recently able to send Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director, and email expressing my gratitude along with the short film so I’m hoping I’ll hear back soon!

Since we are celebrating five years of Close-Up Culture, we were wondering: what has been your favourite film and your favourite film performance of the last five years?

I’ve really become obsessed with the progression of A24 as a company. Rarely do they take on a project that I feel dissatisfied with. Even the ones that aren’t my favourites leave me asking important questions and teaching me something new.

I’ll talk about movies of the last year since they are fresh in my head. The Tragedy of Macbeth blew my mind visually. Every scene made me want to scream out “Wait! Can you pause that so I can enjoy it a little bit longer?” I had a very similar experience watching The Green Knight. I love movies like these because they expose their audiences to older stories, but teach you new possibilities with the craft and media at hand, they express something new rather than just being yet another re-make. 

As well as film, I know you are passionate about fashion and music. Can you talk about those two creative pursuits and what inspires/motivates you most as an artist?

In my experience – all art forms relate. I’ve rarely found it enough to express my feelings and the messages I’m trying to convey in one medium. Although film always seems to be the one that lets me express the most, there are certain times where nothing will feel quite right until I paint or start playing a few notes on my Wurlitzer keyboard. I think realising that acting wasn’t enough has brought me to the next step in my career.

As I mentioned earlier, I have truly found my place as a creative director/leader and have been working with my father to develop this passion with a new media company we are now in the process of creating. Akimbo Creation (IG @akimbocreation), our company, is a multimedia production company that focuses on quality storytelling and bringing up-and-coming artists who are bringing fresh ideas to their respective industry.

We are trying to build a company that rewards creativity and passion and lets the creatives dictate their own career goals and trajectories, and then letting us figure out the “how” of it all. We are taking on projects all kinds of industries including music, Film/TV, animation and even tech. The Amelie project was actually our first release. We are not as interested in the format used, but rather the story that is being told.

One of our current music endeavors has been to work with a rap collective from the south of France called Kame House. We have signed them and have been working with them for a couple of months now and we are so excited about it! They flew out to LA so we could produce their two first music videos and it went as well as it could have. They are such talented and kind young artists who just want to portray todays youth and their mentality in through the music.

We are about to start the process with meeting with labels in France and we can’t wait for their first album to come out.

What type of roles and projects would you love to be part of in the near future?

HBO was definitely a goal of mine. I’d love to work with A24 in any capacity and cross Netflix off my list as well. In terms of roles, all I can hope for is to be given the opportunity to play characters with depth who the audience will connect with, whether they want to or not. Characters who have things to say about our world, characters in stories that will make you ask yourself the right questions and look at your world or someone else’s a bit differently. That’s exciting to me.

If we were to talk again in five years time, where would you want to be in your life, both personally and professionally?

As long as I’ve grown, learned and tried, I’m doing something right. Professionally, I hope Akimbo Creation will start to kick-off, and that we can sell projects to passionate, like-minded people who will be as excited about them as we are. We have a couple of movies in early development, ranging from a sci-fi epic to an indie coming-of-age drama to a psychological horror film, so I’m excited to see how those turn out.

Personally, I’d like to try and be a bit more present and enjoy this time of my life as much as I can. I feel very fortunate to be in Los Angeles doing what I love and getting to meet people who challenge the way I look at the world. What else can I ask for?

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