director • cinematographer • producer

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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.


Recent Work

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


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)


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.