Journalist and Filmmaker
J.J. Kelley is a twice Emmy-nominated director and correspondent. Kelley is a Senior Producer at EXPLORER, National Geographic's flagship documentary series. He is also a fellow at the Explorers Club in New York. Kelley received the 2016 Conservation Achievement for Media and Film Award from TUSK and the 2014 Best Short Film winner at the Blue Ocean Film Festival for GYRE, a National Geographic documentary he directed on the mounting tragedy of ocean trash killing wildlife. He’s also the winner of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival’s Best Conservation Film for Battle for the Elephants, a 1-hour NGTV-PBS special on brutal slaughter of African elephants for their tusks, fueled largely by China’s demand for ivory.
Kelley is the director of Emmy-nominated documentary Warlords of Ivory, the premiere episode of National Geographic Channel’s newly re-launched Explorer series. He is a reporter for National Geographic’s new Investigation Explorer, and he regularly produces short films for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service highlighting their endangered species programs. His work has appeared on The National Geographic Channel, NOVA, The New York Times, Outside Television, and PBS.
An avid adventurer, Kelley paddled 1,400-miles from Alaska to Seattle in a homemade kayak (in the feature documentary Paddle to Seattle), paddled the full length of India’s River Ganges (the subject of his documentary Go Ganges!), is a 2,300-mile Appalachian Trail Thru-hiker, and biked 1,300 miles along the path of the Alaska Pipeline. Recognized for bringing a unique mix of humor and grit to his storytelling, he regularly appears as a guest on National Geographic Weekend and recently starred in a television commercial for Nature Valley.