J.J. Kelley is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and explorer focusing on wildlife conservation, exploration, and wildlife crime. He’s the 2014 recipient of the Blue Ocean Film Festival’s Best Short Film 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 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.