Early on in his career, Kelly cut his teeth directing and editing music videos for artists such as Gossip, Hunx and his Punx and Tiny Hearts and working as an editor.
Kelly’s feature directorial debut I Am Michael, which he adapted from Benoit Denizet-Lewis’ New York Times Magazine article “My Ex-Gay Friend” followed the true-life story of Michael Glatze, a gay activist who became a Christian pastor after identifying himself as a heterosexual. Gus Van Sant executive produced the feature which starred James Franco, Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts. The film went on to premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale.
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Kelly continued on to write and direct IFC’s King Cobra about veteran gay pornography producer Stephen who battles two rival producers over the rights to his underage porn star creation, Brent Corrigan, with deadly results. The pic, which premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, reteamed Kelly with Franco and also starred Christian Slater and Garrett Clayton.
Kelly also directed and wrote the drama mystery Welcome the Stranger last year for Sony which starred Riley Keough, Caleb Landry Jones and Abbey Lee.
The filmmaker’s most recent feature, JT LeRoy, based on Savannah Knoop’s memoir, closed last year’s Toronto Film Festival and will be released via Universal on April 26. The pic follows the early millennium stunt orchestrated by Laura Albert (played by Dern) in which Knoop (Stewart) pretended to be celebrity author JT LeRoy in public.
Kelly continues to be managed by Thor Bradwell.
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