Lucy Cohen talks about the difficulties in creating Kingdom of Us documentary

Lucy Cohen won the documentary prize for her feature Kingdom of Us at the BFI London Film Festival awards on Saturday, the day after the documentary was made available on Netflix.

Lucy had a chat with The World of Celebrity after her win to tell us more about how she found out about the family of eight in Kingdom of Us, which follows them trying to deal with their father’s suicide, and the difficulty she had trying to cut all her footage down to feature length.

How did you find out about the family in the first place?

I met them through a potential development for a BBC project, which was more taking the focus around autism because a number of them are on the autism spectrum and that didn’t happen. But I met this incredibly warm, vivacious, chaotic, loving family who had been through an awful lot.

When I met them they were between 12 and 22… those ages where you’re growing up and working out who you are in life… I was just very drawn to them and wanted to continue and we had that conversation about carrying on filming.

I didn’t know what it would be. I didn’t have a clear idea of what the film would be then and, in many ways, that was the best thing because, for well over a year, we had the freedom to just sort of explore and see what would emerge from that rather than being ‘this is a film about this and that’. 

It must have been difficult trying to cut it down to a feature length documentary?

Definitely. Each of the siblings and indeed their mum could have their own film, there’s so much there. It was difficult, particularly because I felt very strongly that this family is like some sort of wonderful jigsaw, it makes sense together, so we felt all of the siblings had a place, they add a different colour to it, a different dynamic to it, which then does mean you have an awful lot of stories and people to weave in, which was really tricky. 

Kingdom of Us is available on Netflix now.


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