LOS ANGELES, USA // Director of photography Kira Kelly’s ability to shoot iconic images earned her a spot in American Cinematographer magazine’s Rising Stars of Cinematography, Variety’s 10 Cinematographers to Watch list, and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Cinematography for a Non Fiction Program for Netflix’s critically acclaimed documentary 13th.
Directed and produced by Ava DuVernay, 13th investigates the relationship between criminalization of African Americans and the US prison boom. It earned a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2017 Academy Awards and won the BAFTA and Peabody Awards for best documentary. Kelly is currently collaborating with DuVernay on her third season of the critically acclaimed Queen Sugar, executive produced by Oprah Winfrey.
For television, Kelly’s work on four seasons of the five-time Emmy nominated Hulu show East Los High was featured in ICG Magazine.
Kelly’s career began as a gaffer in New York City before making the leap to cinematographer on dozens of music videos. Her first feature began a long-lasting collaboration with director Tom Gustafson. The musical Were the World Mine (winner of 15 jury and 11 audience awards) gave us our first look at her narrative work, summed up perfectly in the Hollywood Reporter: “The lush cinematography belies the modest budget.” Kira also shot Gustafson’s second feature, Mariachi Gringo, in Guadalajara, Mexico. Her most recent narrative feature, Skin in the Game, will be released in 2018.
In addition to her work on 13th, Kelly’s passion for documentary work has taken her around the world to countries as far flung as Rwanda and Cuba, to global events like the World Cup Final in South Africa, and to meet childhood hero Olympic champion Greg Louganis while shooting the documentary Back on Board: Greg Louganis, recently nominated for an Emmy for Best Sports Documentary.
Kelly’s commercial clients include Google, Nike, Chase, Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Comcast, Cover Girl, Motorola and more.
Kira currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. She is represented by DDA.