Rory Kennedy

Rory Kennedy is an Academy-Award-nominated, Primetime Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker. She has made over thirty films, including LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM, ETHEL, and TAKE EVERY WAVE, all of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Her films have appeared on the major streamers and broadcast networks including Netflix, HBO, National Geographic and PBS. Her work has been profiled in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times, and she has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Today Show, CNN, and NPR.

Her most recent feature documentary is DOWNFALL: THE CASE AGAINST BOEING. Made for Netflix, the film, which examines the prelude and aftermath of the two tragic Boeing 737-Max crashes, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2022.

Other recent work includes her 2017 film, TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON, an intimate portrait of the legendary big-wave surfer that had its world premiere at Sundance and was distributed theatrically through IFC and streamed on Hulu. In 2014, Kennedy’s PBS/American Experience feature documentary LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM premiered at Sundance, went into wide theatrical release in the fall of that year, and garnered an Academy-Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. In 2012, her HBO feature documentary ETHEL chronicled the extraordinary life of her mother, Ethel Kennedy; the film premiered at Sundance and was nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards.

Prior to that, in 2011, Kennedy produced KILLING IN THE NAME, which garnered 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 HBO film GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB premiered at Sundance and went on to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Special. Other recent projects include ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA’S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW for the Discovery Channel and THE FENCE, which opened the Sundance Film Festival, and was broadcast on HBO.

She is currently partnered with Netflix, Imagine Entertainment and Appian Way on a feature documentary examining the devastating 2019 eruption of New Zealand’s White Island volcano, a popular tourist destination. The film is executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer. She is also directing an independently financed feature documentary which explores how the international community has responded to refugees since World War II.

Kennedy recently served two terms as Governor of AMPAS. She is the founder of the Malibu Foundation, which supports local nonprofits impacted by the Woolsey fire, and the Climate Emergency Fund, which supports activists protesting climate change. She lives outside of Los Angeles with her husband, three children, two goats, two nice dogs, one very mean dog, and a sixty-two year old tortoise named Zippy.