Nancy Kelly - Director's Biography
more than 20 years, Nancy Kelly has produced and directed independent
documentary and narrative films.
She wrote, produced and directed Downside UP a documentary
about America's largest museum of contemporary art (MASS MoCA)
which opened in the abandoned Massachusetts factory where Ms.
Kelly's grandparents and parents once worked. The documentary
explores whether something as ephemeral as contemporary art
can breathe life into a dying city. Downside UP
is a co-production with WMHT, Schenectady and the Banff Centre
for the Arts, Banff, Alberta, Canada. Produced in association
with the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funds from
the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.
developed, produced and directed the highly critically acclaimed American
Playhouse Theatrical film Thousand Pieces of Gold which stars
Rosalind Chao and Chris Cooper. The Los Angeles Times compared her work to
the "lyricism of a John Ford, a Budd Boetticher, a George
Stephens...but always opening up a new world." Thousand Pieces of
Gold tells the story of a young Chinese woman who comes to America
during the late Gold Rush as a slave. It was developed in association with
the Sundance Institute and financed by American Playhouse Theatrical Films,
Film Four International, and Maverick Films International.
Thousand Pieces of Gold was theatrically released in the top 20
US markets. Its premiere broadcast on American Playhouse ranks
among the series top twenty highest rated broadcasts.
J & M Entertainment sold the television rights to every
country in the world. Showtime, Sundance, Encore and the Romance
cable channels broadcast the film. Thousand Pieces of Gold
was featured in over 20 international film festivals, both in
the U.S. and abroad. Ms Kelly also produced and directed the
acclaimed, award-winning documentaries Cowgirls: Portraits
of American Ranch Women; A Cowhand's Song: Crisis on
the Range; and Sweeping Ocean Views. Cowgirls
was broadcast by the National Geographic Explorer Program, on
various public television stations, and overseas in the United
Kingdom (Channel Four), Zimbabwe, New Zealand, and Australia.
Cowgirls was featured in the Sundance Film Festival,
won a Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival, a Golden Apple
at the National Educational Film Festival, Best Documentary
from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, and Best of the Sinking
Creek Film Festival and the Palo Alto Film Festival. Sweeping
Ocean Views, produced by KQED, received a local Emmy nomination.
directed OneTree, the pilot segment for SPARK, a documentary art
series on KQED, San Francisco. Her work of creative non-fiction "When
We Were Cowgirls" will be published in 2003 by the University of Utah
Press. Ms. Kelly adapted "Breaking Sugar" from the short story by
the contemporary Scottish writer A. L. Kennedy.
Her work has been featured in film festivals around the world,
including the Sundance Film Festival, San Francisco International
Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Chicago
International Film Festival, South by Southwest Film Festival,
Denver International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film
Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Deauville (France)
Festival of American Cinema, London International Film Festival,
Moscow International Film Festival, Vancouver International
Film Festival, Cork International Film Festival, Galway International
Film Festival, Amiens International Film Festival, and Festival
of Young Cinema (Paris), Mill Valley Film Festival, Los Angeles
Women in Film Festival, Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival,
Breckenridge Festival of Film, Santa Barbara Film Festival,
Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, National Educational Film Festival
and the American Film Festival. Her work has been exhibited
at the Directors Guild of America, National Film Theater (London),
Centres Pompidou (Paris), Gene Autry Museum (Los Angeles), and
the National Cowboy Hall of Fame (Oklahoma City).
various projects, she has received funding from the Ford Foundation,
National Endowment for the Arts, ITVS, CPB, NEH, American Playhouse, the
Humanities Councils and Foundations of Massachusetts, California, Oregon,
Nevada and Wyoming, AFI/Rocky Mountain Film Fellowships, LEF Foundation,
Fleishhacker Foundation, Film Arts Foundation Grants Program, Marin Arts
Council, Pioneer Fund, and Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, among others. She
has also raised funds through limited partnerships.
Ms. Kelly attended the Sundance Institute's June Lab (where
Thousand Pieces of Gold was developed), IFFCON, INPUT,
and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She has been a resident
at the MacDowell Colony, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the
Ucross Foundation and Yaddo. She taught film production at the
UCLA Graduate Film School and has given seminars on filmmaking
at the Film Arts Foundation, UC/Berkeley, UC Extension, and
the University of Washington.
is a native of North Adams, Massachusetts.