Owner AREA 21 STUDIOS
Director of Ironbound Studios
Founder of Newark International Film Festival
Director of the Newark Office of Film & Television
Born in Newark NJ, Kenneth attended Arts High School where he honed his skills in art and found his love for entertainment. During the early 90s, Kenneth started his career in front of the camera with MTV on the hit show The Grind. After a few independent acting roles, Kenneth focused his sights behind the camera.
In 2008, after years in the field of television, Kenneth decided it was time to try his hand at movies. To date, Kenneth has worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest films with some of Hollywood’s most amazing A-list talents. Some of the movies he is credited for working on are Hancock, Motherhood, Cadillac Records, The Dark Knight Rises, and War of the Worlds, just to name a few. While enjoying a long list of Hollywood projects, Kenneth still kept his passion for independent film making. Since starting his career Kenneth has worked on over 20 independent films.
In 2009, Kenneth founded Area 21 Studios, a film and television production company based in Newark NJ. Area 21 Studios was created to assist urban film makers gain access to industry resources and opportunities that would not ordinarily be available to them.
Starting with a focus on making a change in 2013, Kenneth was appointed to be the Director of the Newark Office of Film & Television, and the Director of Ironbound Studios, New Jersey’s largest film and TV studio. Seeing this as a great opportunity to bring more resources to urban filmmakers, Kenneth’s aim was to improve the image of his beloved City of Newark to the film industry and the world.
Kenneth’s latest endeavor can be seen as the biggest and most exciting yet. In 2016, Kenneth founded the Newark International Film Festival. The NewarkIFF, as it is commonly known, was created to give independent film makers an access point to the International market. The NewarkIFF gives Newark (the birthplace of film), a greater presence in the film world that has benefited from Rev. Hannibal Goodwin’s invention, in Newark, in 1887. Since its inception in just two years, the NewarkIFF has been blessed with more than 1800 submissions from over 80 countries and has hosted over 20,000 visitors to the Great City of Newark.
“Life is amazing when you control the ending.” Kenneth Gifford