Kenneth Kokin (Blood Moon)

Posted on April 11, 2015

Kenneth Kokin has produced and worked as a second unit director on many award winning films, including “The Usual Suspects” that received several BAFTAs, Independent Spirit Awards and two Academy Awards.

Kokin has been directing films since the age of 14 and has just completed shooting his first feature project. It is a drama that tackles a dark subject matter and moral issues called BLOOD MOON.

After completion of production program at CU Boulder, he continued his film studies and graduated from the University of Southern California Cinema Production where he then teamed with the director Bryan Singer to produce two acclaimed films.

Kokin’s films have received distinguished recognition including two Sundance awards, The Grand Jury Award and the Best International Drama Audience Award. He also produced and directed second unit on The Way of the Gun with Oscar winners Benicio Del Toro and Christopher McQuarrie and Oscar Nominees Juliette Lewis and James Caan.

In 2006, an acquaintance of Kokin’s was starting a company. The business model was to give a pair of children’s shoes for those in need, matching every pair sold in the USA. It was the start of a massive movement in social entrepreneurship. The CEO/Founder of TOMS Shoes, credits Kokin’s documentary For Tomorrow:The TOMS Shoes Story as the most instrumental tool leading to tens of millions in sales. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won more than 8 international awards.

Kenneth Kokin was named as one of the 100 people you need to know in Hollywood and is a sworn Special Deputy in the state of Georgia.

Kokin is often a guest lecturer at universities around the world when he is not making films.

Director’s statement

I first learned of the play BLOOD MOON in Larry Moss’ Master Acting Class. It was written and produced as an off-Broadway play in the 1980s, and starred a 19-year-old Dana Delany. His explanation of the play’s ending was so shocking, that I was compelled to run out and read it the next day. Even now,

Years later, I asked Kazan if I could direct it as a movie — I received his blessing, casted his daughter, Maya Kazan, in her first leading role, and also found an investor.

BLOOD MOON touches a subject that a studio would never endeavor to make, invoking conversation and questions of rape and abortion. Recent events, such as the Bill Cosby scandal, the Rolling Stone UVA article, and abortion occupy the American media landscape. It is a country where many victims have to pay for rape tests themselves to gather legal evidence — the equivalent of having to pay for the police to dust for prints in a robbery or murder. These issues that strongly divide the nation make BLOOD MOON a timely story and an opportunity to shine light on a dark reality.

I cast my friend, Frank Medrano (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION), who I worked with 20 years ago when I produced and directed second unit on the THE USUAL SUSPECTS. James Callis (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY) signed on to play the dashing scumbag Alan, the male lead in this intimate story about such a universal issue.

I was also blessed to have the amazing and experienced creative producer Tim Williams, and Felicity Nove, my Post Supervisor on THE WAY OF THE GUN.

My personal connection to the lead character Mayna runs deep. As a child, I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which made it easy for me to embody the role of a victim. Professionally, there were plenty of times
when colleagues have taken advantage of my good nature or taken from me on different levels without proper compensation. Through her experience, I realized how important it is to let go of the victim mentality in my own life.

I am not saying what she did was moral, however, identifying as a victim is detrimental to one’s own empowerment. She did what she felt she needed to do to balance the scales.

As a producer, I have always felt like I was fueling the racecar without getting to drive it. With BLOOD MOON, I finally got to drive, and my years of producing gave me the pride and confidence to pull it off.

I have produced for many first time directors, and through those experiences, I learned about the filmmaker that I wanted to be and the team I wanted to work with — where everyone’s ideas are welcome and their efforts are appreciated.

I never reached total fulfillment in my career until directing BLOOD MOON, and it is the type of story that I’ve always wanted to share. Now, I have found my satisfaction.