Kelly+Yamamoto Productions | Kelly+Yamamoto Productions | About
For more than twenty-five years, independent filmmakers Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto have been making critically-acclaimed films that have screened in theaters, film festivals, museums, and communities worldwide and aired on PBS, Showtime, Sundance, and Britain’s Channel Four, (among others). Their filmmaking philosophy is to take alternative looks at stories, themes and characters and to tell specific stories from which audiences can generalize universal truths.
kelly, yamamoto, film, thousand pieces of gold, narrative, feature, sundance, documentary, trust: second acts in young lives, rebels with a cause, smitten, downside up, cowgirls, a cowhand's song
144
page-template-default,page,page-id-144,ajax_leftright,page_not_loaded,,select-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,select-theme-ver-2.4.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.7.4,vc_responsive
NancyKenji
NancyKelly-and-Cowboys-ThousandPiecesofGold
ThousandPiecesofGold-KenjiYamamoto-editingfilm
NancyandRene
Frances-McDormand-with-NancyKelly-and-KenjiYamamoto
TRUST-NancyKelly-Marlin
Editor-Kenji-Yamamoto-and-DP-Marsha-Kahm
Kenji-Yamamoto-and-Nancy-Kelly-Cowgirls
KenjiYamamoto_NancyKelly-editroom
Nancy,-Lou-wind-art-HR-lesscontrast
ThousandPiecesofGold_bobbyBukowski_nancykelly
Kelly+Yamamoto Productions

For more than twenty-five years, independent filmmakers Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto have been making critically-acclaimed films that have screened in theaters, film festivals, museums, and communities worldwide and aired on PBS, Showtime, Sundance, and Britain’s Channel Four, (among others). Their filmmaking philosophy is to take alternative looks at stories, themes and characters and to tell specific stories from which audiences can generalize universal truths.

 

Their work includes a documentary trilogy about the transformative power of art: Downside UP, Smitten, and Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives. They explored the roles of women and minorities in the American West in Thousand Pieces of Gold and Cowgirls: Portraits of American Ranch Women. Their documentary Rebels with a Cause illuminates the power of ordinary people to change their world.

 

Nancy and Kenji attended the Sundance June Lab with their narrative feature Thousand Pieces of Gold Kenji attended the Sundance Documentary Lab as the editor of New Muslim Cool with producer/director Jennifer Maytorena Taylor.

 

Nancy’s and Kenji’s films have been funded by the Ford Foundation, PBS American Playhouse, MacArthur Foundation, ITVS, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, Gerbode Foundation, Driehaus Foundation, Columbia Foundation, Fleishhacker Foundation, Woods Fund of Chicago, LEF, Pacific Pioneer Fund, and many others.

 

Nancy is available to consult on many aspects of filmmaking.

Who We Are

NANCY KELLY

Writer/Director/
Producer

Nancy Kelly is an independent filmmaker, working in documentary and narrative film. With Kenji Yamamoto, she made Rebels with a Cause, Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress, Frances McDormand, Rebels with a Cause is about ordinary citizens who banded together to protect and preserve open spaces near urban areas for parks and farms from rampant development. Rebels aired on public television through American Public Television. Prior to Rebels, she created a documentary trilogy about the transformative power of art. Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives which aired on the PBS America ReFramed series. Smitten which aired as a PBS Primetime Special, where 100% of PBS stations aired it. Downside UP which aired on the PBS Independent Lens series and internationally on the series True Stories: Life in the USA. She directed and produced a trilogy of films that take an alternative view of the American West, including the narrative film Thousand Pieces of Gold, starring Rosalind Chao and Chris Cooper.

 

Nancy is a self-taught filmmaker. She was a fellow at the Sundance Institute Directors Lab; at the Banff Centre for the Arts; and at the Bay Area Video Coalition MediaMaker program. She is a member of New Day Films.

 

Nancy is available to consult on many aspects of filmmaking.

KENJI YAMAMOTO

Editor/Producer

Kenji Yamamoto has been editing and producing documentary and narrative films for over 30 years, winning numerous awards. As part of Kelly+Yamamoto Productions, he edited and produced the 1991 narrative feature Thousand Pieces of Gold, which participated in the Sundance Institute Screenwriting Lab and went on to premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Additionally, Goldscreened at the Deauville Festival of American Film, and the international film festivals in London, Moscow, Vancouver, and Seattle. Gold then aired on the PBS American Playhouse series, on Channel Four in the U.K., and around the world.

 

Kenji produced and edited the acclaimed documentaries Downside UP, Smitten, Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives, and Rebels with a Cause. When it premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival, Rebels won an audience favorite award. Downside UP aired nationally on the PBS Independent Lens series; Smitten aired nationally as a PBS Primetime Special; Trust aired nationally on the PBS World America ReFramed series; and Rebels aired nationally on PBS through American Public Television.

 

Independently of Kelly+Yamamoto Productions, Kenji edited the documentary New Muslim Cool, which participated in the Sundance Documentary Edit and Story Lab. Cool follows Hamza Perez, a Puerto Rican immigrant, hip hop artist, single father, and former drug dealer down on his luck. He rebuilds his shattered life by becoming a Muslim and takes his newfound message to youth in his rough neighborhood. But when the FBI raids his mosque, Hamza must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and himself. Cool premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival, won the Freedom Award at the Al Jazeera International Film Festival, and aired nationally on the PBS P.O.V. series.

 

Kenji also edited the documentary States of Grace which received audience favorite awards at the Mill Valley, Napa Valley, and Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festivals. Grace tells the story of a revered physician who struggles with her injuries after surviving a near-fatal head-on collision on the Golden Gate Bridge. In her radically altered life, she embarks on a journey of loss, resilience, and renewal.

 

Kenji studied painting and experimental filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. He also studied at the Jean Shelton School for Actors and Judith Weston Studio for Actors and Directors.

EVA MOSS

Audience Engagement Coordinator

Eva Moss is a jack of all trades: a freelance director, producer, cameraperson, editor and audience engagement coordinator for web and branding videos as well as social issue documentaries for public television. Her current focus is creating micro-docs for small to medium-sized businesses and non-profits, though she is also writing a narrative script, direct a narrative web series, editing interviews of former Guantanamo detainees for the Witness to Guantanamo website, and of course working with Kelly+Yamamoto Productions to engage and inspire audiences with all of their award-winning films. Past feature documentary projects include Emmy® Nominated A Village Called Versailles (Associate Producer), States of Grace (Co-Producer), Out Run (Co-Producer), Ask Not (Associate Producer), and Mr. Cao Goes to Washington (Associate Producer). She graduated from Smith College with a degree and a half in Film and Theater Studies.

ADRIAN LEUNG

Newsletter

Adrian Leung has worked on the fringe of great film at festivals for over a decade, from New York City to Los Angeles and parts in between, like Park City. During this time, he earned a graduate degree, lived abroad, and embarked on a career as an urban planner. He is employed with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and he continues to assist with production and publicity for a variety of film projects.

ALLIE DURO

Distribution

Born and raised in San Francisco, Allie Duro received a BA in Film Production from San Francisco State University. Past documentary projects include The Grove (Assistant Producer), A Village Called Versailles (Production Assistant), and The Campaign (Production Assistant). In addition, Allie has worked as an Assistant Producer at Open Eye Pictures and as an Outreach Coordinator for the documentary Under Our Skin. Currently, Allie is working with Kelly + Yamamoto Productions fulfilling DVD orders and conducting end user research.

Filmography

2012        Rebels with a Cause
2010        TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives
2005        Smitten
2002        Downside UP
1991        Thousand Pieces of Gold
1986        Cowgirls
1983        Sweeping Ocean Views
1982        A Cowhand’s Song

Funding, Fellowships & Honors

2015 On Screen In Person tour
2014 EarthJustice
2013 Cal Humanities in Partnership with the NEH
Marin Community Foundation
2012 Susi Tompkins Buell Fund
Drexler Estate Fund

Nu Lambda Trust
2011 Kira and Bradley Haas Fund
Mulago Foundation

Seligmann Foundation
MediaMaker Fellowship, Bay Area Video Coalition
2010 LEF Foundation
Marin Community Foundation

Fred Gellert Family Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
2009 The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
2007 Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation
Artists Residency, Villa Montalvo
2006 Cal Humanities in Partnership with the NEH
2005 Residency, Working Films
2004 Independent Television Service
2003 Artists Residency, Mesa Refuge
2002 Ford Foundation
2001 Independent Television Service
National Endowment for the Arts
2000 Artists Residency, Banff Centre for the Arts
Artists Residency, McDowell Colony
1999 Artists Residency, Banff Centre for the Arts
1998 Artists Residency, Yaddo
1989 Film Four International
1988 American Playhouse Theatrical Films
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Maverick Films International
1987 Fellowship: Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab
1984 Oregon Humanities
1983 Cal Humanities
Nevada Humanities
1981 Delegate: INPUT
1979 National Endowment for the Arts
Nevada Humanities
1978 Cal Humanities

Awards & Major Public Showings

Rebels With A Cause 

AWARDS

  • Audience Favorite Award, Best Documentary Active Cinema, Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Special Award for Environmental Achievement, Marin Conservation League

MAJOR PUBLIC SHOWINGS

2012 World Premiere, Mill Valley Film Festival
2013-2014 Cleveland International Film Festival
California Historical Society, San Francisco
Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe
Ecofalante Environmental Film Festival, Sao Paolo, Brazil
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, Smithsonian Institution Anacostia Museum
Theatrical release: 28 cinemas in 14 states, including an 11 week run at the Smith Rafael Film Center
2014-2017 Broadcast PBS stations nationwide (83% carriage)
2015 On Screen/In Person Film Series, National Endowment for the Arts-funded tour of the mid-Atlantic states
TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives

AWARDS

  • Youth Vision Award, United Nations Association Film Festival
  • Jury Award, Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
  • Best Documentary Award, Reel Rasquache Art and Film Festival

MAJOR PUBLIC SHOWINGS

2010 World Premiere, Mill Valley Film Festival
2011 Denver International Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Cine Las Americas International Film Festival
Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival
On Screen/In Person Film Series, National Endowment for the Arts-funded tour of the mid-Atlantic states
Costa Rica International Film Festival, Montezuma
Boston Latino International Film Festival
2012 MediaMaker Fellowship, Bay Area Video Coalition
2013 Mumbai International Women’s Film Festival
Southern Tour of Independent Cinema
2013–2014 Broadcast PBS WORLD America ReFramed series
Smitten

AWARDS

  • Audience Award Best Documentary, DC Independent Film Festival
  • Audience Award (shared), Aspen Shortsfest
  • Best Documentary Short (Honorable Mention), Nashville Film Festival
  • Best Documentary (Nominee), Los Angeles International Festival of Short Films
  • Best Documentary Short (Nominee), Atlanta Film Festival

MAJOR PUBLIC SHOWINGS

2005 World Premiere, Mill Valley Film Festival
2006 DC Independent Film Festival
Aspen Shortsfest
Nashville Film Festival
International Festival of Films on Art, Montreal
Silverdocs Film Festival
Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films
Los Angeles International Festival of Short Films
Starz International Film Festival, Denver
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Ashland Independent Film Festival
Independent Feature Project Market
Oakland Museum of California
2006–2011 Broadcast PBS Primetime Special
Downside UP

MAJOR PUBLIC SHOWINGS

2002 World Premiere, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
South by Southwest Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
Institute of Contemporary Art, Chicago
The Point Arts Center, Bronx
Wing Luke Asian Museum, Seattle
Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos, Philadelphia
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio
Phoenix Art Museum
2003–2007 Broadcast PBS Independent Lens series
2007–2017 Broadcast ITVS True Stories: Life in the USA series, 125 countries
Thousand Pieces of Gold

AWARDS

  • Best Feature of the Year, National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City
  • Silver Wave Award, Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale
  • Best Actress, Rosalind Chao, Festival de Cinéma Jeune, Paris

MAJOR PUBLIC SHOWINGS

1990–1991 World Premiere, San Francisco International Film Festival
Vancouver International Film Festival, British Columbia
London International Film Festival, London
Moscow International Film Festival, Russia
Cork International Film Festival, Ireland
Galway International Film Festival, Ireland
Festival International du Film, Amiens, France
Deauville Festival of American Cinema, France
Festival de Cinéma Jeune, Paris
National Film Theater, London
Seattle International Film Festival, Seattle
Chicago International Film Festival, Chicago
Denver International Film Festival, Denver
Hawaii International Film Festival, Honolulu
Mill Valley Film Festival, Mill Valley
Gene Autry Museum, Los Angeles
Cannes Market, Festival des Cannes
Independent Feature Project Market, New York City
1992–1993 Theatrical Release: top twenty US markets; Switzerland, France
1993–1997 Broadcast PBS American Playhouse series
Broadcast Channel Four (UK)
Broadcast worldwide
 
1998–present Broadcast Showtime; Sundance; Starz; TBS; Encore; and Romance channels
Other distribution: Netflix, Amazon Prime.com, HULU
Cowgirls

AWARDS

  • Best Documentary of the Year, National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City
  • Blue Ribbon, American Film Festival
  • Golden Apple, National Educational Film Festival
  • Best of Palo Alto Film Festival
  • Best Documentary Short, Sinking Creek Film Celebration

MAJOR PUBLIC SHOWINGS

1985 World Premiere, Mill Valley Film Festival
1986 Sundance Film Festival
San Francisco International Film Festival
Cinema du Reel
Centre Pompidou
Tyneside Film Festival, Newcastle upon Tyne
Denver International Film Festival
Hawaii International Film Festival
Women in the Director’s Chair
Cleveland International Film Festival
Women in Film Festival, Los Angeles
1987–1992 Broadcast National Geographic Explorer series, Turner Broadcasting System
Broadcast various public television stations
Channel Four (UK)
Sweeping Ocean Views

AWARDS

  • Emmy nomination Northern California 1984

MAJOR PUBLIC SHOWINGS

1983 Broadcast KQED public television, San Francisco
A Cowhand’s Song

AWARDS

  • Red Ribbon, American Film Festival
  • CINE Golden Eagle Award
  • Best Agricultural Film, Zaragoza Film Festival, Spain

MAJOR PUBLIC SHOWINGS

1982 American Film Festival
1983 INPUT, Toronto
Broadcast KQED, San Francisco; KCET, Los Angeles

7

Number of independent films made

8

Most years to make a film

10

Longest standing ovation (minutes)