Rising director and cinematographer Keenan Noir Kelly didn’t initially set out to make movies and music videos. Still, he always knew that it would have a creative bent whatever he did. Raised in a household of artists and musicians, Kelly has creativity in his DNA.
Kelly was raised in Chicago by his Jamaican father, a muralist and musician, and his mother, a Sci-Fi movie buff. His parents’ artistic inclinations helped build Kelly’s creative foundation. He attended National American University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications.
While taking a Fundamental Photography course, Kelly received his first camera. He found himself intrigued by the camera’s video capabilities.
“I experimented and found that I had a passion for storytelling using video,” remembers Kelly.
Like many beginning cinematographers, Kelly started small, shooting vlogs for Saklife, an urban clothing line. He focused on documenting the lifestyle story of the clothing line, and this initial job allowed Kelly to stretch his storytelling legs.
“I believe that every work of art so far has had to give something refreshing and new to people, which has what made it an art to remember,” Kelly says.
His uniqueness is what Kelly has built his business on. Following his work for Saklife, Kelly shot his first official music video for artist CrestIsMuzik.
“ After we shot and released the video, many people applauded us,” says Kelly.
He parlayed that first video into a full-fledged video production, Krude Films. He’d built on his unique vision to shoot music videos for popular artists like Chief Wuk, OTF Boonie Moe, OTF Scrilla300, and V.I The Boss. To Kelly, videos help tell a song’s story and bring the artist’s vision to fruition. He has an evident passion for capturing each musician’s personality and the ability to bring diversity to his work.
“For directors and cinematographers like me, I believe it is essential to push the envelope and exude one’s passion through creating an incredible visual impact,” Kelly says about his approach with his own company.
Kelly’s most recent video won Best Music Video in five film festivals, including the Independent Shorts Awards, Multi Dimension Independent Film Festival, and Delta International Film Festival.
Kelly hopes to turn his attention to further cinematography work in feature films. He continues to build film experience and would love to work on a movie set someday.
When he’s not churning out evocative films, Kelly is well known in the Chicago dancehall scene as a member of the Fearless Squad Dancers under the name Kfearless.
Whether creating video stories or showcasing artistry in other ways, reminiscent of his multifaceted parents, Kelly keeps his goals clear and source of inspiration front and center.
“ I find inspiration just from everyday life experiences of others and my own. I like for my work to be something people can relate to,” he told Bridge. He plans to keep pressing forward, knocking off his goals one by one.
“The worst regret one could have is looking back on their lives and thinking about what we could have or should have done. Do it now!”