director • editor • composer
Shelby Zoe Coley is a Black queer filmmaker based in New York City working across nonfiction and documentary forms. Shelby uses rhythm, portraiture and the spoken word to explore intersections between queerness, race, and healing practices––from detailing the origin story of #MeToo Founder Tarana Burke, to documenting NY Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign. Her work has been featured in publications such as Afropunk, Slay TV, and Curve Magazine and screened at many festivals including the Provincetown International Film Festival, Newfest, and Toronto’s Inside Out LGBTQ Film Festival. Shelby’s short film “Manly Stanley Takes New York” about a British drag king won the Audience Choice Award for Best Women’s Short at Philadelphia Qflix and was nominated for the 2017 Iris Prize. Shelby is a 2017-2018 recipient of the Puffin Foundation Grant for Video/Film, one of Camden International Film Festival’s 2018 North Star Fellows and, recently, a Creative Culture resident at the Jacob Burns Film Center.
As a self-funded filmmaker, all of the work I’m currently producing is on a 100% volunteer basis.
Consider becoming a monthly patron on Patreon to continue making this work possible!
A queer Black elder died in prison last week because she was refused treatment for cancer. @RAPPcampaign —Release Aging People in Prison—held a rally Wednesday to push local govt to pass a bill that allows imprisoned elders an automatic parole hearing. #SayHerName #ValerieGaiter pic.twitter.com/J49r2E6W6k— Shelby Zoe Coley (@shelbyworks) August 23, 2019
In my curiosity exploring modes of healing among queer artists & creatives of color, I felt encouraged to document my own healing process. Out of this came this short vlog. I wanted to use internal discussion, animation and the element of fluidity to explore the vulnerability of the human condition.
See below for other creative inroads into this exploratory phase.
Source Work - Animation & VHX
Talk the Ting
Talk the Ting follows London-based podcasting collective SISTREN to render an intimate portrait of Black sisterhood.
Talk the Ting is a documentary film that testifies to the power of queer Black sisterhood through the lens of UK-based podcasting trio Sistren. Shot over the course of a week, the film features the three sister-friends dishing on their African upbringing, mental health, and the influences that inform how they love themselves and each other––making for an intimate exploration into the love story behind every Black female friendship.
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Listen to the podcast
Co-Director of Photography • presented by #girlgaze x levi's
Tarana Burke, civil rights activist and creator of the #metoo movement was featured among other female activists as the Time Person of the Year for 2017. The film explores Tarana’s life as a survivor, activist and mother and how she found the confidence to start a movement telling other survivors they are not alone. Tarana continues to raise awareness, leading the conversation to stop sexual violence through policy change and community support.
Directed by Brittany "B.Monét" Fennell.
A Girlgaze production.
Meet the Amaphiko Activists: AVA PIPITONE
Presented by Curve Magazine
Red Bull’s Amaphiko Academy brought hundreds of people from across the country to be a part of an entrepreneurship program that aims to bring together social innovators focused on addressing social issues and inequities in their communities.
A group of 15 innovators, activists, and entrepreneurs, including several women of color and queer identified individuals, were selected for the Academy During a 10-day residency, August 11 through 20, these talented individuals participated in lectures, storytelling workshops, coaching clinics, and business simulations hosted by some of the country's leading change-makers.
During that week, I traveled to Baltimore to record this historic and important event, sitting down with LGBTQ innovators. Watch the interview with queer trans woman Ava Pipitone above.
The Consistent Slay
The Consistent Slay is a short film that explores #BLACKBOYJOY in the era of Trump.
Inspired by the artistic collective Bad & Nasty Events, “The Consistent Slay,” uses dialogue, follow-along footage and performative excerpts to render a portrait of five queer black men who explore topics from the 2016 election results to political disenfranchisement through the performance of text, movement, and song.
*Selected for the Upside Film Festival 2017
Manly stanley takes new york
London-based drag king Edythe Woolley––also known as Manly Stanley––walks us through her Brooklyn cabaret performance set which uses misogynistic images from old Hollywood films, footage from designer vagina surgery documentaries, and real online vagina contests to espouse a queer, feminist drag performance practice.
*Won audience award for best women's short at the 2017 Philadelphia QFlix
*Nominated for 2017 Iris Prize (cardiff whales, uk)
Theater of Desire: Split Britches
As part of the short film anthology Theater of Desire, Theater of Desire: Split Britches is an explication of the the autobiographical and queer ancestral elements of lesbian-feminist theater troupe Split Britches’s eponymous debut–a performance that went on to influence a generation of lesbian feminists in New York's downtown theater community during the Reagan era.
Split Britches' UXO Video diaries - September 2016
As on-site videographer for Lois Weaver's and Peggy Shaw's residency on Governors Island in NYC, this is the last of 3 video diaries on the making of UNEXPLODED ORDINANCES (UXO). More on Split Britches.
About the residency:
The Elders in Residence project will contribute to the development of Split Britches' new performance, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO), which will premiere at La Mama Theatre, New York, in October 2016. By opening up the creative process to the public, Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw seek to develop an intergenerational work around aging, unexplored desire, unexpressed tensions and how we 'look forward' in a world with an uncertain future.