Dara Kell is a South African filmmaker and writer based in New York. She is working with Doc Society to produce a podcast about women at the forefront of climate justice around the world, hosted by Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland. She was recently supervising editor and writer on the XQ Institute’s documentaries about rethinking high school education, broadcast on NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox and featuring Viola Davis and Tom Hanks. The show had 26 million viewers. She was a creative producer and director for the Ford Foundation’s “#InequalityIs” video campaign, featuring a wide array of voices—including Elton John, Gloria Steinem and Richard Branson—who share their perspectives on the subject of inequality. Her editing work was featured in the Albert Maysles film “Iris.”
Dara is currently making a documentary about Reverend William Barber and civil disobedience in America. Her previous documentary as a director was “Dear Mandela,” a film about three courageous young South African slum dwellers who lead a social movement to stop mass evictions. The film was the centerpiece of a global community engagement project to inspire young people in slums to become leaders and is part of the curriculum in many law schools around the world.
Dara nurtures longstanding relationships with non-profits and social entrepreneurs; collaborations have included the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, PEN America and the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice. Dara is also an award-winning fiction writer and recipient of the 2015 Zoetrope Fiction Award. She is currently at work on her first short story collection about contemporary South Africa, and she serves on the Advisory Committee of the Science & Technology Train, bringing cutting edge STEM education to rural youth in South Africa.
In 2016, Dara founded Brava Media, a boutique story consultancy that helps non-profits elevate their impact. Her work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, the New York State Council on the Arts and the Ford Foundation.
SELECTED PEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
October, 2016. Panelist. "Storytelling and South Africa" - Ford Foundation, New York
October 2015. Media Advisor at the SKOLL Foundation / Sundance Institute ‘Stories of Change’ Convening
April 2014. Guest Speaker. World Urban Forum 7, Medellin, Colombia.
April, 2013. Panelist. "Social Storytelling in the Age of Data - Meaning & Momentum". - United Nations Communications Workshop, New York
Law, social justice, and Storytelling: Blog post for the Bertha Foundation
"Small Holding" - Prize-winning short story published in Zoetrope Magazine
"Dara's work for our 2017 annual gala video was first-rate. We continue to receive great feedback about it from program partners and foundations. As a small nonprofit, we can do a lot with very little. Using testimonials and performance footage,Dara was able to tell a compelling story about the work we do to connect writers and students in underserved communities. The video has become an extremely effective fundraising tool for us. Professional and easy to work with, Dara is a great collaborator, attentive and versatile, with excellent suggestions that we found immensely valuable during the editing process." —Paul W. Morris, Strategic Director, House of SpeakEasy Foundation, New York City
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