Director of Photography Kira Kelly’s ability to shoot iconic images earned her a spot on American Cinematographer’s 2017 Rising Stars of Cinematography and Variety's Top Cinematographers to Watch list.
She is currently filming the second season of Queen Sugar in New Orleans for creator Ava DuVernay and executive producer Oprah Winfrey.
This marks Kira’s second collaboration with director Ava DuVernay, the first being Netflix’s critically acclaimed documentary 13th. The film, which investigates the relationship between the criminalization of African Americans and the US prison boom, earned a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2017 Academy Awards and won the 2017 BAFTA for Documentary Feature and the 2016 Peabody Award for Documentary.
Kira began her career as a gaffer in NYC 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. She wrapped production on her most recent narrative feature Skin in The Game in December of 2016. It will be released in 2017.
In addition to her work on 13th, Kira’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.
Kira’s commercial clients include Nike, Chase, Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Comcast, Cover Girl, Motorola and more.
Kira currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.