A THREE-part documentary tracking the career of Kanye West is set to be released on Netflix on February 16th, with the first instalment of jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy hitting theatres in the US one week earlier.
The trilogy is directed by Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah, long-time collaborators with the Chicago rapper, and is poised for success at the virtual Sundance Film Festival later this month which will hold the first instalment of the documentary’s world premiere.
Netflix will release the doc over the course of three weeks beginning on February 16th. 21 years of behind-the-scenes footage is used from both the star’s failed presidential run in 2020 as well as from the death of his mother, Donda West, in 2007.
Speaking during a Netflix Playlist showcase, co-director Chike Ozah said: “We’re crossing generations in three films. At the end, Kanye is collaborating with artists that were babies. But the crazy part is that Kanye’s a throughline – still as relevant at the end as he is in the beginning because his music passes the test of time. A lot of artists come and go in relevancy throughout this film, and he’s still there.”
Coodie Simmons added: “Me and Chike have been talking about it forever. Quarantine and all the things we went through at that moment – it actually set me down where I had time to focus and take this 267 hours of footage, going through a big duffle bag of mini dvds, pick out the ones that say Kanye, and put it in the bag. The story just directed itself.”
Netflix seldom allows its films to be released in cinemas before they appear on the streaming platform, and jeen-yuhs would mark the first time the company did so with a high-profile film that was not in contention for Oscar consideration.
TIME Studios is the production company behind jeen-yuhs and is partnering with Iconic Events on the theatrical rollout. The company has won awards for its work on films such as John Lewis: Good Trouble and Amazing Grace.
Outside of working with Ye, filmmakers Coodie & Chike most recently directed A Kid From Coney Island, which documents the life of ex-NBA star Stephon Marbury.