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2016 Hellman Fellow

Rory Kelly

Documenting the impact of racism (UCLA)

Rory Kelly is an Assistant Professor in the School of Theater, Film, and Television at University of California, Los Angeles. He is also an award-winning filmmaker and was honored with the prestigious UCLA Distinguished Teaching award in 2010. His research focuses on exploring links between narrative and formal elements in film with human’s evolved psychology.

His Hellman Fellowship allowed him to complete his primary tenure project, a feature-length documentary entitled To Someday Understand. The film focuses on the stories people of color tell to bear witness to their ongoing experiences of racism. It brings together powerful and moving testimonies of resilience, ingenuity, and pain that celebrate the courage and wisdom of the storytellers while also reminding us how distant the goal of racial justice and equality still is. The film will screen at festivals in 2020/2021 and is being considered for educational distribution by a well-known social impact media distributor. Dr. Kelly’s goal is to share the film with high school and undergraduate classrooms to raise awareness of the costs of racism.

Because of this film, and the support from the Hellman Fellows Fund which made it possible, I am well positioned to submit for tenure next summer.

– Rory Kelly, Ph.D.

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