Shelley Barry

b. 1973. Lives in Johannesburg

Shelley Barry is a South African filmmaker and disability rights activist. Her films span across genres and are largely experimental in style. She often shoots her own films, exploring the aesthetics of cinematography from the perspective of a wheelchair user.

How Barry’s disability never stopped her from making wonderful films, TimesLive, 28 March 2018, Online
Film industry honour for ex-PE women, The Herald, 27 March 2018, Online
Feminist Filmmaker Meets Boss Bitch Rapper, the Journalist, 16 June 2015, Online
An ode to a dissident, Southern Suburbs Tatler, 12 June 2014
Life is for living, The Witness, 9 August 2010, Online
Opposing worlds united on screen, Weekend Post 


2018: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Film, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
2006: Master of Arts (MA), Film and Media Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia.
1995: Bachelor of Arts Honours (BA.Hons), English, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.
1993: Higher Diploma in Education, English and Drama, University of Cape Town, Cape Town.
1992: Bachelor of Arts (BA), English and Drama, University of Cape Town, Cape Town.


Present: Lecturer, Department of Journalism, Film and Television, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg.
2015 - present: Film Production, Twospinningwheels Media School, Cape Town.
2010 - Present: CEO, Twospinningwheels, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
2013: Filmmaker in Residence, Women's and Gender studies, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.
2013: Filmmaker in Residence, Gender Equity Unit, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.
2008 - 2010: Head of Programming, Cape Town Television, Cape Town.
2008: Filmmaker in Residence, Carnegie Foundation, New York.
2006 - 2007: Filmmaker in Residence, Temple University, Philadelphia.
2001 - 2003: Media Manager, Office on the Status of Disabled Persons, The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa, Pretoria.
1991 - 2001: Manager, Programme Compliance Division CEO,
1996 - 1998: Parliamentary Policy Co-ordinator, Disabled People South Africa, Parliament, Cape Town.


Whole: A Trinity of Being (2004)
Where Are My Heels? (2005)
Inclinations (2005)
Str/oll (2006)
Umbilical Cord (2006)
Cry like the Loons (2006)
New York/New Brighton (2007)
Cellphone (2008)
Pants? Skirt? Lipstick? (2005)
Where We Planted Trees (2011)
The Traveling Poet (2011)
Place of Grace (2011)
Mr. Shakes: The Passion to Live (2013)
Diaries of a Dissident Poet (2014)
I’m Not Done Yet (2015)
Re:incarnation (2018)
Out of Reach (2018)
Ink/Visible (2018)
Here (2019)


2018: Outstanding Disability Contributor, South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA).
2017: Featured Filmmaker, Mzansi Women’s Film Festival, Johannesburg.
2011: Mail & Guardian's Top 100 South African Women.
2010: Ambassador of Disability Rights Award, KwaZulu-Natal.
2003 - 2004: Charlotte Newcombe Award, Outstanding Students with Disabilities.
2003: Ford Foundation Scholarship, for Master of Fine Arts in film.

Film Awards

2019: HERE

Selected for the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival

2006: Where We Planted Trees

Best Documentary, Diamond Screen Film Festival, Philadelphia.

2004:  Inclinations

Purchased by MTV in 2007.
Top 10 click list, MTV Films Online.

2004:  Whole – A Trinity of Being

Best Film, Superfest, California.
Best Narrative Short, Philadelphia Festival of Independents, Philadelphia.
Best Experimental Film, Breaking Barriers Festival, Moscow.
Best Experimental Film, Projections 2, Canada.
Spirit of Independence Award, Brooklyn (New York) International Disability Film Festival.
Jurors Citation Award, Black Maria Film Festival, New Jersey.
Outstanding Graduate Student Award, Pennsylvania Association of Graduate Schools, Pennsylvania.
Audre Lorde award for media production.
Television Acquisition, WYBE, DUTV (community TV stations), South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).