dara kell


when lawyers, activists and filmmakers collaborate...

Dara Kell is an award-winning South African director and producer. Her documentary “Dear Mandela” won the Grand Jury Prize at the Brooklyn Film Festival, Best Documentary at Durban International Film Festival and was nominated for an African Academy Award. Dara recently directed short films featuring Gloria Steinem, Usher, Richard Branson and Elton John for the Ford Foundation’s widely viewed and ongoing #InequalityIs campaign, which seeks to foster a new conversation on the systemic causes of global inequality. Dara is an alumnus of the Sundance Institute Producers Lab and was a Skoll Foundation / Sundance Institute Stories of Change Convening advisor. She is an award-winning short story writer and a two-time writer-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center. 


Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza’s award-winning documentary “Dear Mandela” follows three courageous young leaders from the slums of Durban as they resist forced eviction from their homes, and take their case to the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court. The film was supported by Bertha Foundation and was the centerpiece of an innovative 3-year audience engagement campaign that brought together storytellers, activists and lawyers in South Africa, Brazil, India, Haiti and Nigeria. The filmmakers partnered with lawyers at the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), a non-profit organization (and partner of the Bertha Justice Initiative) providing professional and dedicated socio-economic rights assistance to individuals, communities and social movements in South Africa.