Meet our Spotlight Kalai Barlow who is a self-taught filmmaker whose rich, layered visual style is rooted in a diverse collision of cultures from art, design & event co-ordination to humanitarian aid. Kalai’s ability to effortlessly collaborate and adapt whilst intuitively translating ideas into intricate narratives is apparent in the delivery of her work.When approaching concepts, she is propelled by the passion for truth and meaning.
Kalai spent her early years home schooled by her parents at the foothills of the Chimanimani mountains in Zimbabwe. At the age of 10 Kalai relocated to Ireland with her family where she completed a formal education and then travelled and worked between USA, Africa & Sweden.It was this fragmented cultural identity and resonance with being ‘the outsider’ that sparked an innate curiosity to observe how society treats minority groups.
With the power of resilience and the human spirit at the heart of her interests Kalai moved to Cape Town, South Africa to take part in a programme focused on aiding the development of foundations for the youth in underprivileged communities.
After a year of gaining experience Kalai returned to Zimbabwe to continue her involvement in community empowerment & upliftment projects.
Following the footsteps of brother & director Nathan Barlow, Kalai began building a portfolio within the experimental realm of music video & creative advertising in an effort to promote local Zimbabwean artists.
‘I realised that the medium of film has the power to inspire, move and influence your heart, helping you to empathise with realities that may be different from your own.’
As a single mum of 3 year old son, learning while working a full time job was a challenge but passion & determination far outweighed the obstacles.That same year an accident that almost rendered Kalai paralyzed in her right leg became the deciding factor that would propel her to pursue a career in full-time filmmaking.
‘I quickly fell in love with the diversity of the film landscape, each new project completely different from the last. Filmmaking is an amalgamation of so many aspects of art that I love.