Director, Edward Buckles tells his story on his directing of a Kevin Gates music video
So the million dollar question is, how did Director Edward Buckles get the opportunity to direct a Kevin Gates film and include so much of NOLA’s culture in it.
“Directed by E.Buckles” is a very common visual in the city of New Orleans as Buckles’ platform ranges from filmmaking to directing, both locally and globally. Let’s zoom in on how Buckles was able to take his talents into collaboration with rap artist, Kevin Gates:
Back in June of 2019 the owner of Creative Control Production Company and Buckles’ mentor, – Chikeozah – reached out with a “big play” where a commissioner was searching for quality talent to direct a video for Kevin Gates.
After reaching out about the gig, a brief was sent over to Buckles with a music link to Fatal Attraction by Kevin Gates. Buckles started writing the treatment from that moment. Gates team knew they wanted a voodoo theme and that it should be featured in New Orleans.
When Buckles received the brief, he said “It was a no brainer. I’m from NOLA and I have a lot of spiritual people in my family. They know lots of stories about voodoo. The stuff Gates is saying in the song ‘she’s trying to put it in my food’ are conversations old heads are always talking about. I’ve heard stories about not eating red sauce from women who do voodoo. I had ideas flowing.”
With his expertise in filmamaking and directing, Buckles had a vision. “I was worried at first that the project would be too much of a narrative for Kevin Gates, rather than having a crazy wardrobe and actually having to act with a cast. I didn’t know if he would go for that or not”.
Atlantic has had many big-name directors on their label and “Edward Buckles” was an unfamiliar name at the time. “I’m a new Director to Atlantic, the largest I ever did was Big Freedia, she’s huge, but Atlantic is looking at me like a first-time director”.
Creative control was able to get Buckles a very experienced team, that Atlantic felt comfortable with. Once his idea was submitted to Atlantic they loved it and it went crazy, but the budget skyrocketed. Buckles worried that they wouldn’t be able to pull it off. “Me and House of the Young Team worked on the treatment for a weeklong trying to gather logistics. How will we pull off the brothel, costumes, sound design, etc. with that budget”.
Now the anticipation is up as Buckles and his team awaits the label to get started. A start date was set back in June and days before the anticipated production, the label rescheduled. “The label hit us up and was like ‘Yooo Kevin’s team can’t do those dates… we’ll have to get back with y’all’”.
The label scheduled another set of dates – those dates didn’t work either. It happened like 3-4 times to where the label reached out to Buckles and his team saying “We won’t let you know until we fully know…Kevin wants to work on music”.
Months go by and Buckles moves on to the next thing, “I’m over it and I’m done putting my energy towards it. I was disappointed it didn’t happen but after that I was good…boom the album drops and I’m like its either gone happen or it’s not.”
At the time, Buckles moved forward with other gigs: NBA YoungBoy music video, Sprite Project in LA. He worked at his pace while the label became more familiar with him.
Shortly after, Atlantic Executive music video commissioner contacted buckles with a crazy proposition while informing him that the Kevin Gates video got approved. “I didn’t really take it seriously, honestly. I’m like yea, ok”.
Fast forward- “I flew to Africa and I’m putting it on the back burner. It’ll all happen after that. I go to Africa, have fun and come back”.
Upon his arrival to New Orleans the label was ready to work. Buckles knew all the people he wanted to be involved and his producer reached out. “Normally they go find people, but I had a preference on the people I wanted specifically on this project”.
Three to four days before the shoot the label considered switching locations insinuating that it might be cheaper to shoot in LA. “In my head its a voodoo video about New Orleans and LA was unfitting. Me saying that was bold but I knew that if we did the music video in LA, I couldn’t bring my crew- and I’m like that’s messed up”.
Buckles stood firm on his word of shooting in NOLA while using local talent. “I wanted everything to be solely centered around NOLA”.
After his pitch to remain in Nola Buckles told his producer that, “I expected it not to happen after I said that”. However, the label got back with Buckles and his team and asked how soon can they get things going in NOLA. “I contacted everyone and was like it’s happening!”
Buckles chose a beautiful mansion on Dumaine St. belonging to a free woman of color back in the 1800s. He also reached out to have actress Jessica Johnson play the role of the Voodoo Queen, who wanted to get Kevin Gates. “She had the look and aura…She could play that role”.
The production was done in one day and was transformed into a masterpiece.
“I’m still processing that we got everything done. It was the most beautiful and good spirited project I’ve ever worked on and it was the least time I’ve had”.
“Kevin was in love with the entire project. He had great energy as he was acting and giving feedback. Everyone played their part and it was a great shoot”.
Jump into now – after months of back and forth: having the project being on and then cancelled, requesting location changes and having budget issues. Buckles and his team held on to their vision. Not only did Buckles put on for the city of New Orleans but he did it for the culture.
Movement direction/choreo: @maleriedempster
Dancers: @imankeilah @moniqueracheal @risa_face @kandake
Hostages: @subtweet1 @lewciv @deehunt_ @jharr300 @sunmyko @ejaazmason @dnt_rush_it
Art dept: @artgang_atl @andrewoconnor_artgang
1st AD: Zoë A. Palmer
2nd AD: @EjaazMason
Steadicam: Steve “Happy” Acheson
Key Grip: Calvin Ursin
Exec Prod: @producedbydre/ @instajezus
Line Prod: @tinaguiliano13
PA’s: @blackloveproject, Jakari Lister, Shanon Young
Bts photographers/videographer: @gr8mnd @theoptimistdreamer @iam10zin @shotbyspencer