Filmmaker Shelley Barry will speak about her experiences and experiments in making films from a wheelchair and screen extracts of several short films in different genres reflecting on her process of creativity and production:
Extracts will include, among others, a trilogy – Whole-A Trinity of Being, a documentary recounting survival of one of South Africa’s lesser-known wars, namely the ‘taxi wars'; Inclinations – a writer struggles to write erotica and deal with her personal life; Where are my heels? – a tribute to the spirit of a young girl child and Str/oll – a wheelchair user navigates the streets of Manhattan.
Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, Barry completed graduate studies in English and Drama at the University of Cape Town and University of the Western Cape. She has worked extensively as a disability rights activist, following a shooting in the taxi wars of 1996 that resulted in her using a wheelchair. She has held positions as the Media Manager in the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons in the Presidency and as the National Parliamentary Policy Co-ordinator for Disabled People South Africa. During this time she co-ordinated Nelson Mandela’s guard of honour for his State of Nation address in 1997.
In the area of visual media, she completed short video courses with acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair and worked in television as the Program Compliance Advisor for South Africa’s first independent television station, e.tv. She was also based as an intern for a brief period with the BBC’s Disability Production Unit in London. Shelley has had positions as Chief Examiner of the South African Film and Publications Board and also served on the board of Mediaworks, a community media organization and she currently serves on the board of Children and Broadcasting Foundation for Africa. She is associated with Gun Free South Africa and addressed the United Nations in 2006, giving her testimony and calling for an end to gun violence, during the UN review on small arms.
Barry was awarded a full scholarship from the Ford Foundation to study towards her Master of Fine Arts in Film in the United States and graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia in 2006. Her films have screened at major festivals and events around the world and been acquired by television, including MTV, DUTV and WYBE in the U.S and SABC in South Africa.
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