Kelly Byars is a filmmaker, sculptor, actor and teacher. He holds an Associates Degree in Three Dimensional Sculpture from the Institute of American Indian Arts, a Bachelors Degree in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico and a Masters Degree in Language, Literacy, and Socio-cultural studies with an emphasis in Native American Education from the University of New Mexico.
He has produced several films through his company Reel Indian Pictures including The Last Trek and A Return Home, both of which were funded through the New Mexico Filmmakers Program and the State of New Mexico. Kelly continues to work in film and theatre as an actor. His portrayal of Delbert Tsosie in A Thief of Time earned him the Outstanding New Performance Award by the First Americans in the Arts in 2005. Kelly is currently in production on his documentary Stone Survivors which follows three stone sculptors preparing for art shows and discussing their art and experiences. Kelly’s sculptures can be viewed at nitushifinearts.com. Kelly was also an intern at the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico working on documentary projects with Native students. He has also held filmmaking workshops in other rural tribal communities as well as the University of New Mexico.
Kelly played two characters in a play written by Alan Kilpatrick entitled, Little Bighorn as a part of the Two Worlds Theater Festival at the VSA Art Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico from September through October of 2009. He most recently portrayed four characters in the play, “The Ballad of Sucios Frog” at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is currently producing OPAL, a short film in production in August 2011. The screenplay, written by his wife Ramona Emerson was work shopped at the 2010 Sundance Native Filmmakers Lab.