Kelly Fyffe-Marshall is making ripples.
The writer-director was born in England to parents of Jamaican and Bajan heritage. At the age of 11, she moved to Canada, where she’s been a dedicated director, screenwriter and social activist striving to solidify her mark in the world.
Inspired by the greats like Ava DuVernay and John Singleton and Black classic films like Poetic Justice, Love and Basketball, Higher Learning and the like, Fyffe-Marshall made her debut with her award-winning short Haven which premiered at the 2018 staging of SXSW. The short chronicles the relationship a young Black girl named Jada has with her mother, Janice, who does her hair and what happens when they have to encounter difficult news in the process.
As a Black woman filmmaker, Fyffe-Marshall has made it her mission to tell stories that disrupt perceptions of Black people. Her body of work is invested in impact directing where she prioritizes sharing narratives that uplift and mobilize her community forward. Interested in being the visual architect behind stories about the Caribbean diaspora and of her Jamaican heritage, she intends to provide an intimate look into their lives and cultures to a broader audience while simultaneously creating spaces for healing love and unity.
It’s through this amalgamation of aspirations that Fyffe-Marshall was invited to speak at TEDx Youth Toronto 2018 about making change. Her speech, “Make Ripples Where You Are” was a call to youth to become global citizens and would be the preface for her next set of achievements.
Using film to change perspectives, create healing and share powerful stories, Fyffe-Marshall felt inspired to create Make Ripples. The non-profit is a means for her to be in service to her community by addressing racism, inequality and making activism accessible. Conceptualized during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic shortly after George Floyd’s untimely passing, Make Ripples employs approachable mediums to encourage others to bring forth the changes they’d like to see.
In 2020, Fyffe-Marshall liberated her two-part short film Black Bodies (2020) and Marathon (2020), both of which were created in response to a racist interaction her and her peers had in California that had gone viral. Not only was Fyffe-Marshall able to create these two films, an exercise in self-care, but it was also the inception of the non-profit organization We Have The Right To Be Right (RTBR), a collective of artists that align with social advocacy.
After the murder of Georgia native Ahmaud Arbery in 2020, her team decided to release Marathon online where it has amassed a combined 20k+ views on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Later that year, Black Bodies became an official selection for TIFF 2020 where she received the inaugural Change Maker Award for using film as a medium for social change. Black Bodies was also placed on TIFF's end of year Canada's Top Ten list for short films, had its official US premiere by way of its official selection for Sundance Film Festival and was the winner of the 9th annual Canadian Academy of Film and Television’s Best Live Action Short Drama category. Fyffe-Marshall also recently completed her newest short OMI, which premiered at the 2022 SXSW film festival bring home a Special Jury Recognition for Powerful “Short Trip”.
Kelly's debut film When Morning Comes will be premiering at TIFF 22 .