Käla Mandrake has been working in television and film since 2005. Writer & Producer and Video Editor for HBO, Cinemax and BBC, as well as for features, shorts, and documentaries. Käla’s most notable production and post-production work includes Fair Game by Director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Mr & Mrs Smith), The Brainwashing of My Dad by award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Senko, SAM, directed by Nick Brooks, produced by comic legend Mel Brooks.
Mandrake produced, directed and edited rock and pop music videos, including the LoveBite Music Video and the Behind-the-Scenes movie for world-known burlesque singer Melody Sweets.
In February 2011, she officially launched Käla Mandrake Productions while producing promotional shows for the premiere season of HBO’s original series Game of Thrones.
Born and raised in New York City, Käla Mandrake has been photographing the avant garde art and music scene since she was 15 years old. As a teenager, she documented the abandoned buildings and underground venues of the Lower East Side, befriending punk bands, squatters and the homeless. She frequented political social non-profit organizations in ABC NoRio, The Collective Unconscious, the Garage, and the local community gardens. At 17 years old she spent a year playing keyboards in a girl-fronted glam-rock band which introduced her into the world of girl bands. Photographing women rockers brought her into lesbian culture and make-shift venues for exclusive parties. It is through all of these early experiences that Käla learned what it truly means to carve out your own unique path in life. Staying true to her vision of the underground, Käla has always sought out venues and galleries for her photography exhibitions that are artist owned and operated, or are simply part of the New York underground community.
In 2001, VelvetPark magazine wrote that Käla’s black and white portraits “are spontaneous, yet capture a unique sense of conflict, a stark reality about her subject. She captures on film what Jungians refer to as the ‘shadow.’ She has an uncanny ability, in her photos, to bring to life the repressed, darker, and hidden side of a person’s nature. She is able to illuminate something about the person’s being which may make her audience, and her subject, feel less than comfortable.”
She began her own photography business providing for local musicians and performing artists, most of which were women. Remaining part of the avant garde scene meant being a starving artist so she also worked for established commercial photographers to support her photography in the early days. During that time, she went back to school at New York’s School of Visual Arts and became a Teacher Assistant for black and white darkroom students at the International Center of Photography.
Käla’s first photography book UNDERGROUND was published in the Fall of 2011. After going back to school, Käla began writing her first novella, FICTION STORY, which was published in the Spring of 2010. In 2012, Mandrake directed and edited WURTSBORO, a short film inspired by FICTION STORY. Her next book is a compilation of short stories entitled, MANHATTAN: SHORT STORIES, TALL TALES. It is due to be released in the Fall of 2014.
Käla is the granddaughter of legendary stage performer, Mandrake the Magician. Contemporary to the 1930′s comic superhero of the same name, Leon Mandrake began his career in Vaudeville and went on to perform and invent magic acts on the road with Käla’s grandmother, Velvet for over 50 years. Her paternal great-grandparents were musicians in Vaudeville in the earlier 1900’s.