Kelley Kali is the director of the award-winning feature film Kemba. She is a Los Angeles native, Howard University and University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts alumna, and has directed, written, and produced award-winning films in Belize, Haiti, China, and the US. Right out of Howard, 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 then had the opportunity to work with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s New Form 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, directed, and produced Lalo’s House, 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 few years. Her work has been featured at the American Black Film Festival with Kelley recognized as one of the top Emerging Directors and at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival. And in 2021, she was selected as a recipient of the Academy Gold Fellowship for Women. She directed, wrote, produced, and starred in the original feature film I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking), which was an early pick for narrative competition at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival. It went on to win Special Jury Recognition for Multi-hyphenate Storyteller (an award they created for her). The film sold to and is currently streaming on BET+ and BET Her as well as Showtime. It also sold to HBO Europe and currently stands at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Her most recent feature film Jagged Mind premiered on Hulu in June.

Kelley’s mission is to be a creator who addresses issues within marginalized communities by using the art of filmmaking to create dialogue and action towards positive change.