Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy
(born December 12
) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker
. She is the youngest of the eleven children of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy
and Ethel Skakel Kennedy
Kennedy married Mark Bailey on August 2
. They have three children: Georgia Elizabeth Kennedy-Bailey, born on September 30 2002
; Bridget Katherine Kennedy-Bailey, born in July 2004; and Zachary Corkland Kennedy-Bailey born on July 16
The family resides in Brooklyn.
Her life has been marked by family tragedy. Her father, Senator Robert was assassinated
six months before her birth. Her brother, David
, died of a drug overdose in 1984 after a long publicized battle with drug addiction. Another of her siblings, Robert Jr.
, as well as other Kennedys
of her generation have experienced public battles with substance abuse. Another brother, Michael
, was perished in an Aspen, Colorado
skiing accident in 1997 that occurred while she was present. Two years later, her cousin JFK, Jr.
, his wife, Carolyn
, and sister-in-law Lauren
, died in a plane crash
en route to her wedding in Hyannisport, Massachusetts
, which was originally scheduled for July 17
. The wedding was postponed, and a considerably scaled-down ceremony was held two weeks later.
Kennedy announced in an op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle that she supports Barack Obama for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. In the piece entitled "Two fine choices, one clear decision - Obama
" Kennedy stated
- "Last Monday, I was very moved to see my uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, and my cousin, Caroline Kennedy, publicly endorse Sen. Barack Obama. I thought their statements of support were brave, intelligent and responsible. Given the importance of this election, and the remarkable strength of our candidates, it's not an easy decision for anyone looking to cast a vote for a new direction in this country.... Recently, my mother, Ethel Kennedy, said of Obama: "I think he feels it. He feels it just like Bobby did. He has the passion in his heart. He's not selling you. It's just him." I agree. Obama is a genuine leader. We Americans - women included - desperately need that kind of leader now. Not a president of a particular gender or a specific race, but a president with a different vision, one who inspires a sense of hope."
Kennedy is a graduate of Brown University
and, together with fellow graduate Liz Garbus
, formed Moxie Firecracker Films
in 1998. They specialize in documentaries that highlight pressing social issues. Among the networks they have produced and/or directed films for include: HBO
, Lifetime, Discovery Channel
, Court TV
, The Oxygen Network, Channel 4 UK and the Sundance Channel.
In 1999, Kennedy's film about a struggling Appalachian family, American Hollow, garnered critical acclaim and many awards. HBO picked up American Hollow for broadcast and publisher Little, Brown & Co released Kennedy's companion book simultaneously.
When asked in a Salon.com article about her interest in the American South, Kennedy cited her father's experiences in the region as an inspiration and starting point. In the same article, she goes on to mention that showing class differences in American culture also motivates her.
Kennedy directed and produced the Emmy nominated series Pandemic: Facing AIDS, which premiered at the Barcelona World AIDS conference on July 8, 2002, and aired as a five-part series on HBO in June 2003.
In 2003, Kennedy produced and directed A Boy’s Life, the story of a young boy and his family in rural in Mississippi. The film premiered to rave reviews at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded the Best Documentary prize at the Woodstock Film Festival. The film was later broadcast on HBO. Her next film for HBO, Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable, aired on September 9, 2004. The film takes a “what if” look at the catastrophic consequences of a radioactive release at the Indian Point Nuclear Energy Center, located 35 miles north of midtown Manhattan.
In 2006, she produced and directed The Homestead Strike as part of the History Channel’s ground-breaking series, Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America. She also Executive Produced Street Fight, which follows the controversial 2002 Mayoral Race between Sharpe James and Cory Booker in Newark, New Jersey. Street Fight earned a 2006 Academy Award Nomination for Best Documentary.
In 2007, Kennedy’s Ghosts of Abu Ghraib premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the 2007 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Documentary.
Most recently, Kennedy produced and directed Thank You, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House for HBO Documentary Films, which premiered on HBO August 18, 2008.
Earlier in the 1990s, Kennedy formed a film production company with Brown University classmate Vanessa Vadim (daughter of Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda) called May Day Media based in Washington, D.C. It is a non-profit production and distribution house that specializes in films with a social conscience.
Kennedy also advocates for several social activism organizations and sits on the board of numerous non-profit organizations.
- (with husband Mark Bailey) American Hollow, 1999, ISBN 0-8212-2631-2
- American Hollow, 1999
- Different Moms, 1999
- Epidemic Africa, 1999
- The Changing Face of Beauty, 2000
- America: Up In Arms, 2000
- All Kinds of Families, 2001
- Healthy Start, 2001
- Pandemic: Facing AIDS, 2003
- A Boy's Life, 2004
- Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable, 2004
- The Homestead Strike, 2006
- Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, 2007
- Thank You Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House, 2008
- The Execution of Wanda Jean, 2002
- Sixteen, 2002
- Hidden Crisis: Women and AIDS, 2002
- Together: Stop Violence Against Women, 2003
- The Nazi Officer's Wife, 2003
- Girlhood, 2004
- Xiara's Song, 2004
- Street Fight, 2005
- Yo Soy Boricua, 2006
- Coma, 2007