D. Smith

Filmmaker and Grammy award-winning music producer D. Smith is a multitalented voice with an unparalleled, fresh perspective. Her directorial debut, KOKOMO CITY, garnered critical acclaim and major awards for her deeply moving, fearless and wildly entertaining storytelling.

In KOKOMO CITY, Smith shines a bright, incisive, and unfiltered light on four Black transgender sex workers in Atlanta and New York City – who unapologetically break down the walls of their profession. Holding nothing back and pulsing to the beat of Smith’s own produced soundtrack, cinematography, and editing, the film vibrates with energy, joy, pain, humor, sadness, and hard-earned wisdom.

Smith’s journey into filmmaking follows a non-traditional path. Starting in the creative industry as a music producer, Smith produced records for major musical artists, including Lil Wayne a collaboration which resulted in an eight-times platinum album and won Smith a Grammy for Best Rap Album. She has produced and written for Andre 3000, Cee-lo Green, Katy Perry, Estelle, Monica, Lloyd, Fantasia, Nipsey Hussle, Ciara, Neyo, and Billy Porter. She has also collaborated with like-minded producers Timbaland and Mark Ronson.

From there, after transitioning, Smith was faced with the challenge of redirecting her career from the ground up. With nothing but her creative drive to her name, Smith bought a camera and lenses and filmed the deeply personal story KOKOMO CITY by herself. No assistant, no cinematographer, no editor. Just the vision of a truth and her raw talent.

Edited and shot by Smith in bold black and white and executive produced by Lena Waithe, KOKOMO CITY premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the coveted Sundance Film Festival’s NEXT Innovator Award and NEXT Audience Award, as well as the Adobe Innovation prize. Shortly after the premiere, Magnolia Pictures acquired distribution rights to the film.

KOKOMO CITY also screened at SXSW and the Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Panorama Audience Award.The film went on to lead the Cinema Eye Honors Documentary Awards with recognition in six categories, including Best Director; is nominated for five Critics Choice Documentary Awards, including best documentary feature; and has been nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Film Independent Spirit Awards and the GLAAD Media Awards. Smith has also been nominated for Best Documentary at this year’s DGA Awards.

After a theatrical run last summer, KOKOMO CITY is now available to stream on Paramount+ and Showtime.

Serial Pictures