Directed by: D. Smith
USA, 2023, 73m
Winner of the Next Innovator and Audience Awards at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and directed by Grammy award-winning record producer D. Smith, Kokomo City takes up a seemingly simple mantle—to present the stories of Black transgender sex workers in New York, Georgia, and South Florida. Shot in striking black and white—by Smith herself—the boldness of the facts of these women’s lives and the earthquaking frankness they share complicate this enterprise. Colliding the everyday with cutting social commentary and the excavation of long-dormant truths is anything but black and white. Unfiltered, unabashed, and unapologetic, Smith and her subjects smash the trendy standard for authenticity, offering a refreshing rawness and vulnerability unconcerned with purity or politeness. The film itself is a revelation of intense vulnerability, striking agency, and often unexpected uproarious laughter. In the last few years, the rights of the transgender community and that of sex workers (especially in light of the pandemic) have been at the forefront of the cultural zeitgeist, and with Kokomo City, Smith is about to blow the doors off the conversation.