Aaron Ruell

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Aaron Ruell
Aaron Ruell by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Ruell at the San Diego Comic-Con International in 2011.
Derek Aaron Ruell

June 23, 1976 (1976-06-23) (age 43)
Years active2001–2012

Derek Aaron Ruell (born June 23, 1976 in Fresno, California), is an American director and photographer. He is most recognized for his performance as Kip Dynamite in the indie movie Napoleon Dynamite.



Ruell is an accomplished commercial director and photographer.[1] As a director he is represented by Sanctuary in Los Angeles.[2] He was declared one of the most promising new directors in the world of advertising by Shoot magazine in 2009,[3] and "one of the emerging directors to know now" by Creativity.[4] He has directed commercials for clients ranging from T-Mobile and Nintendo to Coke and Burger King.[5]

He was the only filmmaker to have two films, Everything's Gone Green and Mary, which he wrote and directed, premiere at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.


Ruell is best known for playing the role of Kipland Dynamite in the movie Napoleon Dynamite.[4] In 2007, he starred in On the Road With Judas, which premiered in the Dramatic Competition section of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.[6] Ruell played a successful New York businessman who led a double life as a computer thief.[7]

Ruell studied film at Brigham Young University.[8][9]

Personal life[edit]

Ruell was born and grew up in Fresno, California, where he attended Clovis West High School.[citation needed] He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served an LDS Mission in Guatemala but left the church in 2015.[9] Ruell and his wife, Yuka, were at one time members of the Los Angeles Latebirds, an official Moped Army branch.[10][11] Ruell and his wife currently reside in Portland, Oregon after having resided in Pasadena, California.[12]


Year Film Role Other notes
2004 Napoleon Dynamite Kipland Ronald "Kip" Dynamite
2006 The Problem with Percival Social Worker Short film
Think Tank
2007 On the Road with Judas Judas
Year Title Role Notes
2005 Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! Suupa Voice Role
Episode: Brothers in Arms
2012 Napoleon Dynamite Kip Voice Role

Awards and nominations[edit]

Teen Choice Awards

  • 2005: Nominated, "Choice Movie Rockstar Moment" - Napoleon Dynamite[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Quirky Portraits by Napoleon Dynamite Actor and Photographer". Feature Shoot. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  2. ^ "Aaron Ruell". Biscuit Filmworks. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  3. ^ "SHOOTonline". SHOOTonline. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  4. ^ a b "Kip Dynamite (Napoleon's brother) is a handsome hipster with a beard now". Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  5. ^ "Aaron Ruell - Work - Creativity Online". creativity-online.com. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  6. ^ McCarthy, Todd (2007-02-01). "On the Road With Judas". Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  7. ^ Lask, J. J. (2007-01-21), On the Road with Judas, Aaron Ruell, Kevin Corrigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, retrieved 2018-07-06
  8. ^ Famous Mormon Actors, Producers and Directors Archived 2014-03-21 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b "Aaron Ruell, Moving Beyond "The Napoleon Dynamite Guy" | Rangefinder". Rangefinder. 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  10. ^ "Aaron Ruell, Latebirds — Moped Army". www.mopedarmy.com. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  11. ^ "Yuka Ruell, Latebirds — Moped Army". www.mopedarmy.com. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  12. ^ Holstein, Amara. "Wood Paneling Loses its Dated Reputation with This Renovation of a 1959 Portland Gem". Dwell. Retrieved 2018-07-06.

External links[edit]