Kelley Kali

Kelley Kali is a native of Los Angeles, CA, Howard University & USC School of Cinematic Arts Alumna, and has directed, written, and produced award-winning films in Belize, Haiti, China, and locally in the USA. Right out of Howard U, Kelley received the opportunity to work at National Geographic Television and Film, where she gained TV experience that led her to become the only woman selected to direct the first creole dramatic TV series in the country of Belize, Noh Matta Wat. She later won the Paul Robeson Award for her work.

She was selected to work with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s New Form Digital, to develop her web series, The Discovery of Dit Dodson, that went on to compete in top-tier festivals across the nation. In 2018, Kelley wrote and directed Lalo’s House (executive produced by Garcelle Beauvais and Lisa L. Wilson), which went on to win the 45th Annual Student Academy Award and was in consideration for the 91st Annual Academy Awards. Kelley also won the Directors Guild of America Student Filmmaker Award, the KCET Fine Cut Award, Shadow & Act’s “Rising Award,” the “Programmers Award” at the Oscar-qualifying Pan African Film Festival, the Jury Award at the “Diversity in Cannes Showcase’’ sponsored by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions, and several others in the past two years.

Her work has been featured at the American Black Film Festival as one of the top Emerging Directors and at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival. In 2021 she completed directing, writing, producing, and starring in the original feature film, I’M FINE (Thanks for Asking) which was an early pick for narrative competition at the 2021 South by Southwest Film Festival where Kelley was awarded Special Jury Recognition for Multi-hyphenate Storyteller. This SXSW award and world premiere led to the purchase of the film by Viacom and is streaming on BET+ and BET Her, Showtime, HBO Max  Europe, had a theatrical release March 2023 in the UK, and currently stands at 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In 2023 she finished directing two other feature films, Jagged Mind for 20th / Hulu and Kemba a MPI and BET Original Feature Film, based on true events.  Kelley’s work in using her stories to address social issues resulted in her being recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as their 2021 recipient of the Academy’s Gold Fellowship For Women and more recently she just received the 2024 Amplify Award at Sundance Film Festival from the Sundance humanitarian partner, the Windrider Institute, for her directing work on Kemba. Kelley’s goal is to be known as a director and content creator who addresses issues within often marginalized communities by using the art of filmmaking to create dialogue and action towards positive change.