Kelly also wrote, produced and directed an award-winning documentary trilogy about the transformative power of art: TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives (public television America ReFramed series) about a Honduran teen whose traumatic life story is unveiled in a daring original play; SMITTEN (PBS Prime Time Special), about art collector Rene di Rosa, who is smitten by art; and DOWNSIDE UP (PBS Independent Lens series), about how MASS MoCA, America’s largest museum of contemporary art, revived Kelly’s dying home town. She also directed and produced the narrative feature THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD (PBS American Playhouse theatrical film) starring Rosalind Chao and Chris Cooper. She was a fellow at the Sundance Institute Director's Lab with THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD and participated in the Bay Area Video Coaltion Mediamaker program.
Kelly's business and life partner, Kenji Yamamoto, has been Editor/Producer on all of Nancy Kelly’s films. Yamamoto has also edited the acclaimed documentaries NEW MUSLIM COOL directed by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor and THIRST, directed by Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman. He recently edited STATES OF GRACE, produced and directed by Helen Cohen and Mark Lipman. He most recently edited RADICAL GRACE by Rebecca Parrish, winner of Best of the 2015 AFI Film Festival.
Films by Nancy Kelly
TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives is about creativity and the unexpected resources inside people you might discount because they are young, poor or of color. This award-winning film follows an 18 year-old Hondureña who, with the help of a troupe of immigrant teenage actors, courageously leaves behind the sexual and cultural violence of her past, and creates a bright future for herself. TRUST is a story of resilience, a hopeful film about the intersection of community, storytelling and courage.
Beginning in the 1950s, a ragtag group of disparate citizens banded together to protect and preserve open spaces near urban areas from rampant development and, in so doing, brought about America's system of national seashores and recreation areas. How they pulled off this incredible feat is the heart of REBELS WITH A CAUSE, the stunningly beautiful new documentary narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Frances McDormand.
Their hard fought campaign crosses party lines, overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and illustrates that passionate individuals have the power to influence the entire nation. In the end, the efforts of these rebels set new precedents for protecting open space and shaped the environmental movement as we know it today.
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How does a dying working class town end up betting its future on art? With 80% of its downtown buildings closed, North Adams, Massachusetts united blue-collar locals with art world luminaries to transform economic failure into America's largest center for contemporary art, MASS MoCA. A film by North Adams native Nancy Kelly, DOWNSIDE UP is about the tentative, dangerous notion of hope in a city widely viewed as hopeless.