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Rory Kelly receives UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award

Production/Directing lecturer one of only three so honored

Rory Kelly

TFT faculty Rory Kelly has been awarded a UCLA Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award for 2010.

Introduced in 1961, the Teaching Award aims, in the words of the official citation, to “increase awareness of UCLA’s leadership in teaching and public service by recognizing teachers for their achievements. The award gives UCLA an opportunity to demonstrate to the community, alumni, students, parents, donors and others what makes UCLA a beacon of excellence in higher education.”

Kelly’s win is the second Distinguished Teaching Award announced this year at TFT: Cinema & Media Studies Professor John Caldwell has also been so honored, winning one of five DTA’s earmarked for roster faculty. Only three awards are given annually at UCLA to non-roster faculty members.

Past TFT award winners include A.P. Gonzalez (2003), Howard Suber (1987) and William Melnitz (1982) among Academic Senate (roster) faculty members. Eric Marin (2007) and Bill McDonald (1997) received awards as non-roster teachers (McDonald became tenured in 1998). As teaching assistants, Ross Melnick (2009), Nina C. Liebtnan (1986) and Marilyn McMahon (1977) have been recognized.

Kelly is an independent filmmaker whose first feature, “Sleep With Me” (1994), starring Eric Stoltz, Meg Tilly, Parker Posey and Craig Sheffer (and with a memorable cameo by Quentin Tarantino), had its world premiere as an Official Selection at Cannes and its North American premiere as a Gala Screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. It also screened at the London, Flanders, Seattle and Boston International film festivals and was distributed by United Artists.

Kelly's second feature, “Some Girl” (1998), with stars Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Rapaport and Jeremy Sisto, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, where Kelly won the DGA-sponsored Best Director Award. Millennium Films, a subsidiary of Miramax, distributed.

In addition to teaching at UCLA, Rory Kelly is a tenure-track assistant professor in the Film and Electronic Arts Department at California State University, Long Beach, where he is the producer and co-artistic director of the WideScreen Film Festival. He developed an Artist-in-Residence program for the festival, which he founded in 2002 with Steven Spielberg.