The Cinematography Podcast Episode 67: Kira Kelly
Cinematographer Kira Kelly had years of experience before director Ava DuVernay approached her to shoot her documentary, 13th. For 13th, DuVernay was interested in creating artful, composed shots rather than the typical “talking heads” of most documentaries, and pushed Kira and the team to get creative about how it was framed. The film examines the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery, yet the mass incarceration of African-Americans continues to this day as its own kind of slavery. 13th was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2017. Kira collaborated with DuVernay again on the second season of the critically-acclaimed series, Queen Sugar. When she was first starting out, Kira worked as a gaffer before moving into the camera department and establishing herself as a cinematographer, shooting a small independent film called Were the World Mine. Producer/director Carlos Portugal noticed her work and hired her to shoot four seasons of Hulu’s Emmy-nominated series, East Los High.
Kira Kelly’s latest show is a limited series for Netflix called Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madame C.J. Walker, starring Octavia Spencer. The series is based on the real-life story of an African American washerwoman who builds a hair product empire to become the first female self-made millionaire. Self-Made is on Netflix beginning March 20.
Find Kira Kelly
Close Focus: COVID-19 production shutdowns continue.
Ben’s short end: The HBO series, “Avenue 5.” It’s beautifully shot and very funny. Also the podcast “Dead Eyes:” In the year 2000, actor Connor Ratliff is fired by Tom Hanks from the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers for supposedly having “dead eyes.”
Illya’s short end: The FX series “DEVS” on Hulu, which is shot by Rob Hardy and directed by Alex Garland. The show is good, shot well, and the plot is interesting, but he has mixed feelings about the casting, especially the lead protagonist.
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Producer: Alana Kode