Student Oscar Winner Kelley Kali On Her Enthralling Film 'Lalo's House'
Storytelling is a process that involves unpacking the truth: peeling back layers and revealing, no matter how unsavory or uncomfortable, the raw and authentic parts of our humanity that are often sequestered in corners or shoved into closets. With her breathtaking short film, Lalo’s House, filmmaker Kelley Kali — a University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts graduate student who is the first Black woman to win the Student Academy Award for a fiction piece —exposes the heartbreaking issue of child sex trafficking.
Lalo’s House follows two Haitian girls,14-year-old Manouchka (Jasmin Jean-Louis) and her 5-year-old sister, Phara (Kyra Rose), who are kidnapped off the streets of Jacmel, Haiti and forced into an underground prostitution network which operates as a Catholic boarding school. Desperate to free her sister and herself, Manou hatches a dangerous plan to escape and find a path back home.
Ahead of the 91st Annual Academy Awards nominations which Lalo's House is now eligible for, Shadow and Act sat down with Kali to chat about making Lalo’s House, her journey into filmmaking, and why it’s so critical for Black women to have a say in our art.
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