Joseph Kahn (director)

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Joseph Kahn
Kahn at a screening of Detention at the Los Angeles Film School, 2012.
Ahn Jun-hee

(1972-10-12) October 12, 1972 (age 51)
Occupation(s)Film director, music video director
Years active1990–present
Korean name
Revised RomanizationAn Jun-hui
McCune–ReischauerAn Chun-hŭi

Joseph Kahn (born Ahn Jun-hee, Korean: 안준희; October 12, 1972) is a Grammy-winning South Korean-American film and music video director. Kahn has worked with various artists such as Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Eminem, Backstreet Boys, Imagine Dragons, Lady Gaga, Rob Thomas, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, Kelly Clarkson, Ava Max, Mariah Carey and Destiny's Child.

Early life[edit]

Kahn was born Ahn Jun-hee (Korean안준희) in Busan, South Korea.[1][2][3] His family spent part of his childhood there and in Livorno, Italy until moving to Jersey Village, Texas, a suburb of Houston, when Joseph was seven.[4][5] After graduating from Jersey Village High School in 1990, Kahn went to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts but dropped out after a year. Returning to Houston, began to direct hip hop music videos.[2]


Music videos[edit]

Kahn's videography spans thirty years. In the mid-1990s he directed music videos for artists including Aaliyah, Ice Cube, Backstreet Boys and Snoop Dogg. In 2003, Kahn won his first Grammy for Eminem's "Without Me" video which also won the MTV VMA's Best Video of the Year, as well as Best Direction. His video for Katy Perry "Waking Up in Vegas" won the MVPA 2009 Best Video of the Year.[6]

Kahn's usage of Japanese pop culture in music videos first began with Janet Jackson's "Doesn't Really Matter" video. The video was also the most expensive video Kahn has directed and is among the most expensive of all time, costing over $2.5 million.[7]

In 2014, Kahn was given The Icon Award by the UK Music Video Awards.[8] In 2015, Kahn directed MTV's choices for Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, Best Female Video, and Best Collaboration for multiple videos from American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift's fifth studio album 1989, including "Blank Space", "Bad Blood", "Wildest Dreams" and "Out of the Woods" and her sixth studio album Reputation, including "Look What You Made Me Do", "...Ready for It?", "End Game" and "Delicate".[9] He won the Grammy Award for Best Music Video of 2015 for Swift's single "Bad Blood" featuring Kendrick Lamar.[10]

In 2017, Kahn won the American Country Music Awards Video of the Year for "Forever Country."[11] In 2019, Kahn collaborated with Ava Max for the "Torn" music video, and directed a new music video for Mariah Carey's 1994 hit, "All I Want for Christmas Is You".[12] In 2022, Kahn directed a music video for Chris Brown's lead single "Iffy" of his upcoming album Breezy.[13]


Kahn also directed the 2004 action film Torque starring Ice Cube.[14] In May 2007, it was announced that he would direct an adaptation of William Gibson's science fiction classic Neuromancer for producer Peter Hoffman. On May 7, 2010, Fangoria reported that Vincenzo Natali, the director of Cube and Splice, had taken over directing duties and would also rewrite the screenplay.[15] In 2011, Kahn directed the low-budget self-financed horror comedy Detention.[16] After winning a number of audience favorite awards on the film festival circuit,[17] Detention was picked up for theatrical distribution by Sony for a release in 2012.[18] In July 2016, test footage for the DC Comics character Swamp Thing was released which was directed by Kahn for the potential Justice League Dark film.[19] Kahn's latest film is Bodied, a satirical black comedy about racial tensions in the world of battle rap. The film was produced by Eminem and premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the People's Choice Award in the Midnight Madness section.[citation needed] Bodied continued to pick up the Audience Awards at both AFI Fest[20] and Austin's Fantastic Fest.[21] His fourth feature film, Ick, starring Brandon Routh, Malina Weissman and Mena Suvari, is scheduled to be released in 2024.[22]



  1. ^ Jeong, Cheon-gi (정천기) (April 25, 2001). "American music video director Joseph Kahn enters Korea (美 뮤직비디오 감독 조셉 칸 한국 진출)" (in Korean). Seoul Broadcasting System. Archived from the original on June 4, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Han, Brian (November 24, 2014). "Taylor Swift 'Blank Space' director Joseph Kahn digs deep into Korean roots". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on December 29, 2018. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  3. ^ Yun, Hyeon-jin (윤현진) (June 16, 2009). "Joseph Kahn: "Korea should be proud of BoA" (interview) [조셉칸 "한국은 보아를 자랑스러워하라" (인터뷰)]" (in Korean). Newsen. Archived from the original on June 4, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  4. ^ "Bio". Archived from the original on October 29, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  5. ^ Yin, Wesley. "Joseph Kahn, the infamous director of Taylor Swift's music videos, tells the ugly truth". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 26, 2020. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  6. ^ "Joseph Kahn". IMDb. Archived from the original on April 23, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  7. ^ "Asia Pacific Arts: APA Top Ten: Joseph Kahn music videos". Entertainment Weekly. Diehl, Matt. October 17, 2008. Archived from the original on October 22, 2008. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  8. ^ "UK Music Video Awards 2014: Hiro Murai wins Best Director, DANIELS take Video Of The Year, Joseph Kahn accepts Icon Award on Promo News". Promonews. Archived from the original on October 13, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  9. ^ "Lark | Joseph Kahn". Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "Joseph Kahn". May 22, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "'Forever Country' Earns Video of the Year at the 2017 ACM Awards". The Boot. April 3, 2017. Archived from the original on October 12, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  12. ^ Mariah Carey's 19th Number #1 Single and New Music Video by Joseph Kahn Archived August 2, 2020, at the Wayback Machine by Ashton Brooks at Chaos and Comrades, December 16, 2019.
  13. ^ "Chris Brown Drops 'Iffy' Video". Rap-Up. Archived from the original on January 16, 2022. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  14. ^ Torque, archived from the original on September 4, 2018, retrieved October 12, 2018
  15. ^ Gingold, Michael. "Natali takes "NEUROMANCER" for the big screen". Archived from the original on May 9, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  16. ^ "Celebrated Music Video Director Shows Up for 'Detention'". June 11, 2010. Archived from the original on June 13, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  17. ^ "Detention | Joseph Kahn". Archived from the original on December 16, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  18. ^ "Sony Pictures Worldwide Opts For 'Detention'". June 15, 2011. Archived from the original on June 24, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  19. ^ "Watch 'Detention' Director Joseph Kahn's 'Swamp Thing' Test for 'Justice League Dark'". Collider. July 27, 2016. Archived from the original on May 12, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  20. ^ "AFI FEST 2017 Announces Award Winners". February 17, 2024. Archived from the original on October 30, 2023. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
  21. ^ "Toronto: 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Captures Audience Award" Archived September 21, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. The Hollywood Reporter, September 17, 2017.
  22. ^ Katcy Stephan (March 15, 2024). "Brandon Routh and Mena Suvari to Star in Joseph Kahn's 'Ick' From Interstellar Entertainment".

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