Darol Olu Kae

Darol Olu Kae is an American director. Mining community archives, social history and his own upbringing, his work blurs the boundary between fiction and documentary, while exploring the complexities of family, cultural inheritance and black life.

Darol came up as a video artist, and soon became a favoured collaborator for celebrated filmmakers. His two-channel broadcast ‘BLKNWS’, which he made with Kahlil Joseph, was included at Venice Biennale and Sundance. He also worked with AG Rojas on the short ‘Godchild’, which was commissioned by The Smithsonian.

Then in 2020, he broke out with, ‘I Ran From It and Was Still In It’, a stirring personal video essay about his father’s death. Using found sound, repurposed imagery, and Darol’s personal footage, the film collapses time and memory, following the ripple effect of a familial loss. The film made Vimeo Staff Picks, and was selected for Sundance, Lorcano, BlackStar and SXSW, where it was awarded the ‘Special Jury Recognition for Poetry’.

Since then, he released his second solo short, ‘Keeping Time’, as well as the music video for ‘Say Peace’ by Common, which he co-directed with AG Rojas. He is currently developing his feature debut, ‘Without a Song’, an elegy to an ageing jazz musician who can no longer play.
Before moving into direction, Darol’s mission was to make production accessible to young filmmakers. He taught film in Compton, and was Programme Director for The Underground Museum in Los Angeles.

Darol was raised in Los Angeles, where he is currently based.