KEMBA


genres:

 

Based on the true story of Kemba Smith, a college student falls in love with a man, only to learn he is a drug kingpin who leads her down a path of abuse and manipulation, placing her in the middle of the government’s “war on drugs,” and ultimately landing her in federal prison.

 

The viewer cannot be faulted for wondering how such a fateful meeting of two young people could end up in such a calamitous collision. Director Kelley Kali lays it out step by step with archival footage, well written scenes exposing the myriad of political errors and a brilliant cast that pulls it all together.  Kudos to Nesta Cooper in the title role.  Stick around for the closing credits and meet onscreen the people who lived this story. 

 

Director: Kelley is a LA native, Howard University and University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts alumna.  Right out of Howard, Kelley worked at National Geographic Television & Film, where she gained TV experience that led her to become the only woman selected to direct the first creole dramatic TV series in the country of Belize, NOH MATTA WAT. She later won the Paul Robeson Award for her work.  She worked with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s New Form to develop her web series THE DISCOVERY OF DIT DODSON.

 

In 2018, Kelley wrote, directed, and produced LALO’S HOUSE, which went on to win the 45th Annual Student Academy Award. Kelley also won the Directors Guild of America Student Filmmaker Award, the KCET Fine Cut Award, Shadow & Act’s Rising Award, the Programmers’ Award at the Pan African Film Festival, the Jury Award at the Diversity in Cannes Showcase, and several others.

 

Her work has been featured at the American Black Film Festival with Kelley recognized as one of the top Emerging Directors and at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival. And in 2021, she was selected as a recipient of the Academy Gold Fellowship for Women.  She directed, wrote, produced, and starred in the original feature film I’M FINE (THANKS FOR ASKING), which was an early pick for narrative competition at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival. It won the Special Jury Recognition for Multi-hyphenate Storyteller. The film sold to and is currently streaming on BET+ and BET Her as well as Showtime. It also sold to HBO Europe and currently stands at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Her most recent feature film, JAGGED MIND premiered on Hulu in June.

 

Special Guests: Kelley Kali, director, Kemba Smith Pradia, and Kemba’s family, subjects of the film.  

 

A portion of the proceeds benefits Urban League of Broward County.

 

 

 

Sponsored by: Rochelle Golub & Hank Cairo

 

 

Co-Sponsored by:

 

       

 

CREDITS

DIRECTOR(S): Kelley Kali
SCREENWRITER(S): Christine Swanson
PRODUCER(S): Stacey Parks, p.g.a., Lana Link, p.g.a., Rob Pfaltzgraff, p.g.a.
CAST: Nesta Cooper, Siddiq Saunderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Michelle Hurd

Showtimes

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