director • cinematographer • producer

 Photo by Cathleen Campbell.

Photo by Cathleen Campbell.

about shelby

Shelby Zoe Coley is a Black queer filmmaker based in New York City working across nonfiction and documentary forms. A protegé of Sundance veteran Madeleine Olnek (The Foxy Merkins, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same) and two-time Tribeca Film Festival producer Abou Farman (Vegas: A True Story, Icaros: A Vision), Shelby uses rhythm, portraiture, and the spoken word to explore intersections between queerness, race and creative practices––from documenting renowned lesbian performance troupe Split Britches, to producing a web series whose direct cinematic style endearingly earned it the title of "the hipster's Grey Gardens." Her work has been featured in renowned publications such as Afropunk, Slay TV and Curve Magazine. Most recently, Shelby’s short film “Manley Stanley Takes New York” about a British drag king won the Audience Choice Award for Best Women’s Short at Philadelphia Qflix and is nominated for the 2017 Iris Prize. Her short film on lesbian-feminist theatre troupe Split Britches premiered at the Provincetown Film Festival in June 2017. Shelby is a 2017-2018 recipient of the Puffin Foundation Grant for Video/Film.


Talk the Ting

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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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she's revolutionary

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

*featured on slay tv & Afropunk


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.