Kaluuya was on hand alongside his co-director Kibwe Tavares, producer Daniel Emmerson and several of the film’s actors, including “Top Boy” star Kane Robinson and newcomer Jedaiah Bannerman. Set in a dystopian London where all social housing has been banned, the film follows the residents of a community called the Kitchen who must fight to save their home.
Speaking before the premiere, Kaluuya and Tavares explained that it’s taken nearly a decade to bring the Netflix film to the screen. “[In] January 2014, we all put £200 each up in Holloway in a barber shop to make a taster of this film,” Kaluuya said.
“Obviously, this is mine and Kibwe’s directorial debut, and I learned a lot on the journey,” he continued. “I realized that you have to be very, very specific to be universal. So this film is very, very London and very, very British and very, very global. I believe in my heart that we have every right to be as unapologetic and as unashamedly ourselves and tap into universal themes, stories and evolutions that everyone in the world can understand. And that’s what ‘The Kitchen’s’ about.”
When the credits rolled, “The Kitchen” was met with thunderous applause as the audience gave a standing ovation. Kaluuya, Tavares, Emmerson, Robinson and Bannerman then came on stage for a brief Q&A. Asked what he hoped viewers took from the film, Kaluuya responded, “I just want you to take it as art. You don’t look at a painting like, ‘This is what it is.’ It reveals who you are. So who are you, do you know what I’m saying? That’s what I believe. I don’t want to be too prescriptive and tell people what to think because the beauty of it is allowing you to figure it out.”
As “The Kitchen” team walked off stage, he added, “This is one of the best days of my life, real talk.”