Longtime Kanye West collaborators Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah are about to unveil their most ambitious project yet: jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, a three-part Kanye West doc that premiered at Sundance on Jan. 23. The doc will premiere on Feb. 16 on Netflix.
Picked up by Netflix last fall, the film's origin dates to the early 2000s, when the young filmmaking duo began collaborating with West on a series of music videos, notably "Through the Wire" and "Jesus Walks."
"It’s really a faith-based journey broken up into three acts: vision, purpose and awakening," Ozah tells Variety. "We called it 'Jeen-Yuhs' not because we are saying that Coodie’s a genius or Kanye’s a genius specifically. We are just championing the concept that everybody has a genius inside of them. We say it’s faith-based because we truly believe that God has planted that genius within us."
"We don’t even want to call it a documentary to tell you the truth," Simmons says. "We want to call it a film. I’m narrating the whole film, so there’s no interviews. It’s all cinéma vérité footage. It’s almost like God wrote this story."
Originally the filmmakers came up with an eight-hour cut of the film, which they narrowed down to three 90 minute "episodes" once they began working with Netflix last year.
Ozah stresses that the project was undertaken without West's oversight: "[Kanye] has no control over it. He trusts us. We’re not making a biased film. We’re not trying to make a commercial for Kanye. We are not trying to change anybody’s mind. It’s not a commercial to promote Kanye, but we do contextualize [him]."