Rory Kennedy is one of America’s most prolific documentary filmmakers. An Academy Award-nominated, Primetime Emmy Award-winning director/producer, Kennedy’s work deals with some of the world’s most pressing issues—poverty, political corruption, domestic abuse, drug addiction, human rights and mental illness. Kennedy has made more than 40 highly acclaimed documentaries. Her films have appeared on HBO, PBS, National Geographic, Lifetime Television, A&E, Court TV, the Oxygen Network and TLC.
Most recently, Kennedy completed Above and Beyond: NASA’S Journey to Tomorrow, a feature documentary examining the extraordinary ways NASA has changed not only our vision of the universe, but also our planet, and ourselves. Covering 60 years and beyond, the film celebrates past accomplishments, investigates current initiatives, and surveys future plans, from the first lunar landing to the latest Mars rover to the vast network of satellites keeping watch over Earth. The film was broadcast on the Discovery Channel in October of this year.
In 2014, Kennedy made the PBS/American Experience feature documentary Last Days in Vietnam. Nominated for an Academy Award, the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went into wide theatrical release in the fall of that year.
In 2012, Kennedy made the HBO feature documentary Ethel chronicling the extraordinary life of her mother, Ethel Kennedy. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards.
In 2017, Kennedy completed Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton, a feature documentary about the life of legendary big wave surfer Laird Hamilton. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and was distributed theatrically through IFC.
In 2011, Kennedy produced Killing in the Name, which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short. In 2009, she Executive Produced Street Fight, which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. In 2007, her film Ghosts of Abu Ghraib premiered at Sundance and went on to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Special.
Her other projects include Bobby Fisher Against the World (2011), Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech (2009) and The Fence (2010). Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times, and she’s appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.
A graduate of Brown University, she majored in Women’s Studies. Along with acclaimed documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus, she is co-founder of Moxie Firecracker Film in New York and Los Angeles. Kennedy is also a governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
A committed activist, Kennedy continues to fight for social justice and human rights. She maintains an active speaking schedule and recently has been the keynote speaker for various lecture series, university events, and community organization functions. Kennedy lives in Los Angeles with her husband and 3 children.