Via Zoom: Filmmaker Kelley Kali on ‘I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)’

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CHICAGO – Filmmaker Kelley Kali just scored a major award at the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival, Grand Jury Recognition for Multi-Hyphenate Storytelling, for a film that she co-wrote, co-directed and acted in the lead role. “I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)” is a vivid portrait of another America that is happening now.

Kali is Danny, a Los Angeles mother who is “camping” with her daughter and trying to negotiate a new apartment. The backstory is she is widowed, and obviously was struck down by the financial crisis of the pandemic. When she needs an extra two hundred dollars to secure the apartment, the journey she takes in trying to get the money is fraught – in one tumultuous day – with the conditions of slapdash USA. Kali co-wrote the film with Roma Kong and Angelique Molina, and co-directed with Molina. Deon Cole (“Blackish”), who is a producer of the film, makes an indelible cameo.

Kelley Kali of ‘I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)’
Photo credit: Kaliwood

Kelley Kali is a native of Los Angeles, and got her undergraduate degree from Howard University in anthropology, focusing on archaeology. She got her MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she served as council president for three years, and won a student Oscar for her short film “Lalo’s House.” The award-winning “I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)” is her second feature film as co-director, after “The Adventures of Thomasina Sawyer.”

In PART ONE of an interview Via Zoom with Patrick McDonald of, Kelley Kali of “I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)” talks about her background to the story, shooting during a pandemic and underlying themes in the film …

In PART TWO, Kali talks Deon Cole, her eclectic academic background and her advocacy for change …

“I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)” will be screened (click name for info) at the upcoming San Francisco Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and Annapolis Film Festival. Features Kelley Kali, Wesley Moss, Deon Cole, BK Marie and Ira Scipio. Written by Kelley Kali, Roma King and Angelique Molina. Directed by Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor, Film Writer

© 2021 Patrick McDonald,

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