ISHMAEL AZELI is a cinematographer and an international 1st AC based in Nairobi, Kenya, with a profound passion for storytelling and a relentless drive to capture the essence of every project. He is a dedicated member of the esteemed CINEMATOGRAPHY SOCIETY OF KENYA (C.S.K), where he has fine-tuned his skills by working on a diverse array of narrative, commercial, and documentary projects. His life’s dedication lies in capturing the most poignant moments through the lens. With an insatiable thirst for visual storytelling, Azeli has forged a unique path in the world of cinema, breathing life into stories with breathtaking visuals
Azeli’s portfolio spans across a broad spectrum of media, including TV commercials, brand films, feature films, short films, and documentaries. His work has graced the big screen, been broadcasted on prominent TV networks such as Netflix, Discovery, NTV, CGTN, CNN, France24, and others. Additionally, his creations have found a digital home on online outlets such as The Sauce, Spread Zone, Returning Cinema Africa (RECA), CUE 6, Newsday24, Business Daily Africa, GB Africa, and many more.
Azeli has had the privilege of collaborating with a distinguished roster of award-winning filmmakers, including legends like Thierry Arbogast (AFC), Denson Baker (ACS), and directors Atiq Rahim (French Afghan), Jim Loach (Hollywood), Carl Rinsch (Hollywood), Rowry O’Grady (South Africa), Dan Prior (Kenya), Juan Reina (Finland), and many more.
Throughout his career, Azeli has garnered numerous awards and nominations in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the world of cinematography. Notably, he was awarded the prestigious 2022 D&AD YELLOW PENCIL, an iconic honor reserved for work that exemplifies true creative excellence. His dedication & works of the cinematic greats, learning from their storytelling techniques, and understanding how a well-composed shot can evoke emotion and create a lasting impact.
Despite his remarkable achievements, Azeli remains a humble, approachable, and passionate artist dedicated to his craft. Moreover, he is committed to inspiring the next generation of visual storytellers by sharing his knowledge and passion through workshops, talks, and mentorship programs
In Possession of a Kenyan Passport and having travelled to more than 25 countries in the world, Azeli is free to travel and work internationally, bringing his unique perspective and talent to projects around the world,one frame at a time.
His work has taken him across the globe, partnering with leading brands and production houses such as Bonne Pioche (France), Ahoy Films (South Africa), Quite Bright Films (Kenya), Jerico | Super 8 (France), Mermaid Production (New York), Ginger Ink (Kenya), Blue-sky Films (Kenya), Stage Light Production (South Africa), Mojo Productions (Kenya), Boreales (France), HOME (Los Angeles), and numerous others.”