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Alex Kelly (filmmaker)

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Name  Alex Kelly
Role  Film-maker
Movies  Queen of the Desert

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Alex Kelly (born 1979 in Albury, NSW) is an Australian freelance artist, film maker and producer based in Alice Springs, Australia. Alex grew up in a farming community near Wodonga in regional Victoria, Kelly has worked with diverse communities in Australia and around the world including Coober Pedy, Alice Springs, Amsterdam, Barcelona and the UK organising and lobbying for social change. She has been involved in community development, the arts, media (communication), environmental protection and social justice projects.


Alex Kelly (filmmaker) Guestroom Alex Kelly ABC Darwin Australian Broadcasting

Social justice

Alex Kelly (filmmaker) Alex Kelly

In the 1990s, Alex Kelly was involved in organising campaign events in Melbourne and across Australia. She was involved in the campaign and blockade against the proposed Jabiluka uranium mine in the Kakadu National Park led by the Mirrar people, NT where she developed an interest in independent media. Back in Melbourne, she was involved in the founding collective of Melbourne Indymedia and worked on SKA TV's weekly activist news program Access News on Channel 31, Melbourne. Alongside her work in environmental conservation, sustainable development and social justice, she has worked with young people sharing skills in media arts in remote central Australian areas.

In 2001, Kelly took part in the anti-capitalist ‘People's Global Action’ conference and 'people's caravan' in Bolivia. She worked for social justice organisations in the Netherlands, Spain and Morocco, was co-editor of 'Greenpepper' (social justice and environmental magazine) in Amsterdam, participated in organising a technology event with Genderchangers collective in Croatia and did grass roots distribution for several Australian independent film makers by travelling around Europe screening their documentaries in social centres, squats, at protests, conferences and gatherings for 6 months in 2002/3.

In 2003, she started to work for the acclaimed Australian arts and social change company Big hART Inc., commencing as a production assistant on the projects [email protected] in 2003, Radio Holiday, Stickybricks and Junk Theory, continuing as Creative Producer of Ngapartji Ngapartji from 2005 to 2010 and becoming National Producer in 2012.

She was in Coober Pedy for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first British atomic test at Emu Field in 1953. In 2004, Kelly settled in Coober Pedy to work on projects and campaigns on environmental issues, youth and arts program. She volunteered with the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta – a group of senior Aboriginal women on the ‘Irati Wanti–Poison Leave It’ campaign which successfully halted a proposed nuclear waste dump in South Australia. She also worked as a voluntary projectionist at the Coober Pedy Drive-In Cinema.

With Big hART Inc., she collectively developed the large-scale community development and art-making project Ngapartji Ngapartji as creative producer from 2004 to 2010. For the work on Ngapartji Ngapartji, Kelly moved to Alice Springs where she also co-incepted the outdoor cinema 'Lunacine'. In 2006, she worked as NT Triple J Arts Reporter. After Ngapartji Ngapartji wrapped in 2009, Kelly worked as community liaison adviser to Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens in Canberra.

In 2010/11, she tour-managed the Australian summer tour of brass band Orchestra Del Sol from Edinburgh (UK).


Kelly has worked across film as a producer and director.

Kelly supported the production of over 75 short documentary films for the Ngapartji Ngapartji project alongside filmmaker Suzy Bates and pitjantjatjara young people.

Alex Kelly co-produced and co-directed Globalisation 101 with Kim Beamish for SKATV and Friends of the Earth in 2001.

Alex Kelly was producer on the award-winning documentary Nothing Rhymes with Ngapartji which premiered on ABC TV in 2011 &. The film directed by Suzy Bates explores indigenous languages, the legacy of the Maralinga atomic tests in South Australia and the staging of the Ngapartji Ngapartji theatre show in the remote Indigenous community Ernabella. It was screened at the ‘This is Not Art Festival’ (Newcastle, Australia), ‘Yosemite Arts Festival’ (USA), ‘Radar International Documentary Film Festival’ (Germany), the 'International Film Festival' (Ireland), the 'Docs Campus' (NZ) and the ‘Global Social Change Film Festival’ (Indonesia). The documentary won the ‘El Capitan Award’ at the 2011 ‘Yosemite Film Festival’ and was finalist in both the ‘ATOM Awards’ 2010 (Best Biography) and 'Global Social Change Film Festival' 2011.

In 2011 Kelly worked as production assistant on the drama shoot of PAW Media/Rebel Films Coniston. Coniston won the 2012 Best Docudrama ATOM Award.

In 2012, Kelly directed the 30-minute documentary Queen of the Desert for 360 Degree Films, showcasing the collaborative work of transgender hairstylist Starlady Nungari and the Areyonga community. Queen of the Desert was funded by Screen Australia, Screen NT and ABC TV for the Opening Shot scheme. The film screened at ‘Fist Full of Films Festival’ (Darwin 2012), ‘Cockatoo Island Film Festival’ (Cockatoo Island, 2012) and had two successful openings in both Melbourne and Alice Springs and premiered on ABC2 on 25 November 2012.


Kelly has been on the board of a range of media, arts and political organisations, among others Arid Lands Environment Centre, RedHOT Arts, Engage Media and was artistic consultant to the ‘Art at the Heart Regional Arts Conference’ (2008).

In 2008, Kelly won the Australia Council for the Arts ‘Kirk Robson Award’ & and was a YouthActionNet fellow &, taking part in the ‘Global Fellows Retreat’ in Washington DC (USA, 2008).

In 2010, she undertook an Australian Council residency at Cite International des Arts in Paris.

In 2011, she received the Screen Territory ‘Bob Plasto Fellowship’.

She was awarded a 2012 Churchill Fellowship to undertake research into social change film distribution, impact and outreach models.


Alex Kelly has been founding member of ‘Malice Springs Roller Derby League’. In 2012 she transferred to VRDL ‘Victorian Roller Derby League’ where she skates under the name Axle Sparx. Alex was crowned 1998 Miss Camel Cup at the annual Alice Springs event.


Alex Kelly (filmmaker) Wikipedia