Shelley Barry

b. 1973. Lives in Johannesburg

Shelley Barry is a South African documentary filmmaker and has worked extensively as a disability rights activist, following a shooting in the Cape taxi wars of 1996 that resulted in her being a wheelchair user. 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 


2006  Master of Arts: Film and Media Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
1995  Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honours) in English,University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
1993  Higher Diploma in Education (English and drama), University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
1992  Bachelor of Arts (English and drama), University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa


Present  Lecturer, Department of Journalism; Film and Television, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
2015 - 2016  Producing Film, Twospinningwheels Media School, Cape Town, South Africa
2010 - Present  CEO, Twospinningwheels productions, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, South Africa
2013  Filmmaker in Residence, Women's and gender studies, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
2013  Filmmaker in Residence, Gender Equity Unit, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
2008 - 2010  Head of Programming, Cape Town Television, Cape Town, South Africa
2008  Filmmaker in Residence, Carnegie Foundation of New York
2006 - 2007  Filmmaker in Residence, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
2001 - 2003  Media Manager, Office on the Status of Disabled Persons, The Presidency, Republic of South Africa, Union Buildings, Pretoria, South Africa
1991 - 2001  Manager: Programme Compliance Division CEO,, South Africa
1996 - 1998  Parliamentary Policy Co-ordinator- Disabled People South Africa, Parliament, Cape Town, South Africa


2018  Outstanding Disability Contributor, SAFTA AWARD
2017  Featured Filmmaker, Mzansi Women’s Film Festival
2011  Top 100 SA women, Mail and Guardian
2010  Ambassador of Disability Rights Award, The Province of Kwazulu Natal
2003/2004  Outstanding Students with Disabilities, Charlotte Newcombe Award
2003  Ford Foundation Scholarship, Master of Fine Arts in film

Film Awards

2006  Where We Planted Trees

Best Documentary: Diamond Screen film festival, Philadelphia

2004  Inclinations

Extensive screenings worldwide. Purchased by MTV in 2007
Selected as top 10 click list on MTV’s online film site

2004  Whole – A Trinity of Being

Best Film: Superfest: California
Best Narrative Short: Philadelphia Festival of Independents
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
Audre Lorde award for media production
Television Acquisition: WYBE, DUTV (community TV stations), SABC