The Irishman Behind Boyhood

Director of cinematography for ‘Boyhood’, Shane Kelly on set. (Photo: Ulster Harold)

By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
April / May 2015

Much praise has been lauded on Richard Linklater’s 12 years spent making Boyhood, the indie film that garnered a slew of awards including Golden Globes, SAGs, BAFTAs, and Oscar nominations. Much of the commendation went to co-directors of cinematography Shane Kelly and Lee Daniels.

Kelly is a native of Sixmilecross, a small town in County Tyrone. A lover of movies and books his whole life, Kelly attended the Aughnaglea grammar school and later graduated from the University of Ulster with a degree in media studies. He credits his education for the success he has achieved in his life, telling The Ulster Herald, “I grew up in a household full of books and information, so I would have to say that my education also came through the encouragement of my parents to be curious about the world around me.”

This curiosity carried him to London, Seattle, and finally Los Angeles, where he took part in a number of film productions, including Urbania (2000), A Scanner Darkly (2006), and the documentary Catching Out (2003). With Boyhood though, he did something he never had before, shooting once a year with an indefinite completion date.

Kelly said the film “has probably been my most rewarding professional experience because its degree of success wasn’t expected. But I love my job and that is rewarding in itself.”

“The challenges in making a movie over 12 years are really about consistency and making sure that each year flows into the next without a major style change,” he said.

Kelly is proud of the film and its success, saying it is “very satisfying reward for twelve years of hard work and commitment that everyone on the cast and in the crew put in.”

Now living in Texas, Kelly dreams of one day shooting a film in Ireland. ♦

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