ANGELA SHELTON

Writer / Director / Producer / Actress

Angela Shelton is an award-winning filmmaker, whose semi-autobiographical movie Tumbleweeds (1999) was awarded the Sundance Film Festival (2000) filmmaker's trophy and earned the lead actress Janet McTeer an Academy Award® nomination and a Golden Globe® win.  In 2001 Angela went on the road to make her directorial debut with Searching for Angela Shelton (2004), a documentary where she discovered that 70% of the women she interviewed with the same name had been victims of rape, childhood sexual abuse and/or domestic violence. 

Angela's feature directorial debut, Heart, Baby!, is one she also wrote and produced. 

Writer / Director / Producer: Heart, Baby! and The Eagle and the Albatross

Writer: Syndrome

Some stills of Angela directing Heart, Baby! and The Eagle and the Albatross:

Read our FILMMAKER Q&A with ANGELA SHELTON:

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Why Do You Make Movies?

Movies are the best way to reach the most amount of people, it’s a way to paint and write at the same time.

I make the movies that I "have to" make. 

What’s your story?

I would’ve been a preacher if I had not become a model. (cue the laugh track).

Here are "my story" cliff notes:

I started out as an actress and a mime at the mall (cue the laugh track again  -it's true) while always writing. Moved from the South (NC and SC) to San Diego, CA when I was 13.

Started modeling at 15, moved to Los Angeles, then New York, then Paris and Milan. Wrote a book about my life with my mom (Tumbleweeds) while living in Paris modeling. Once back in New York, bridged to acting after booking the lead in a movie off my first audition ever and the director read my manuscript and wanted to make it into a movie - thus began the journey of the movie Tumbleweeds. 

After Tumbleweeds, other writing jobs came from Showtime, Sony Classics, Canal+ and then the Writer’s Strike was about to happen. I was asked if I had any ideas for a documentary and Searching for Angela Shelton was born. While working on that film, my own healing became paramount and thus started my journey to writing Finding Angela Shelton and learning to Be Your Own Hero.

My Hollywood team didn’t much like that I was putting so much energy into that little “incest and rape” movie but I went on the road with the movie and the book instead for TEN YEARS. It’s true. That time flew by. It's also why my IMDB page has a big gap of time in it - I was on the road. It was worth it. If I had not done that traveling and my own healing, I would probably not be alive.

Searching for Angela Shelton received many accolades (Oprah, Larry King, 48 Hours...) and went on to begin a grassroots movement of survivors and humanitarian organizations around the world dedicated to exposing the epidemic of abuse. "Finding Angela Shelton" was published in 2006 and described how that journey across America, whilst making the documentary, changed my life and many others. 

Following the documentary and the book's release I became a public speaker on the subject of trauma, recovery and surviving abuse while it appeared via my IMDB that career went dormant. 

I came back into the ring of making movies with my first feature, HEART, BABY!

That’s when I met North of Two and Mark Cartier - he was not only the ONLY person who was truly honest with me but he helped me finish my baby.

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Over a whiskey at his favorite bar, Mark asked me about my big dream plan and I almost let him see my massive stack of scripts. Instead I told him about three in order not to scare him. He nodded and told me that if I took two of those ideas into a studio they would be stolen before I left the building. I had to build myself up as a filmmaker first and then have them come to me. He suggested I get a little low budget movie out that I could film quickly before Heart, Baby! Even came out. I said I could do that, would he fund it? He said yes. I said yes. We toasted. Then a short while later I handed him a script and he said, “Dammit, Shelton, this is really good.” That was in June. We started filming in Sept. 2017, and The Eagle and the Albatross will most likely come out in the fall of 2018. BOOM! 

Creating content that uplifts, motivates and inspires joyful lives - no matter what we've been through (and we've been through a lot!) is what I’m doing.

While making movies, I still speak across the country about awareness and healing from sexual abuse - because sadly, healing and awareness is still massively needed.

What story do you want to tell?

"It’s more like what story do I HAVE to tell. I have to tell the stories I dream of, those that pull in my gut, that wake me up at night, poke at me incessantly, slap me in the face, trip me up until I do it - those are the stories I am called to tell. They all have a theme. Every movie I make is a sermon and at the foundation it’s me questioning and renewing my own faith. Every story I’m drawn to has some kind of element of God while I both support and question the church. Whether it’s Spirit, God, HE/SHE, faith, The Great Mother, the Universe, or Source, IT is always at the core of the lessons that drive the stories. Sometimes it's subtle like in "The Eagle and the Albatross" and sometimes it punches you in the gut like "Heart, Baby!", but it's there. God is always there. That is what wakes me up and drives me to work."