Filmmaker Angela Shelton
is the powerhouse behind the documentary Searching for Angela Shelton (in which Shelton, herself a survivor of sexual abuse, connects with 40 other women of the same name, many of whom had also been been raped, beaten or molested). She’s also an author, screenwriter (Tumbleweeds), actress and founder of the Angela Shelton Foundation.
“Basically, I work all the time,” Shelton tells Xpress. She’s currently in the process of creating a new film — a comedy to be called Stirring Up Trouble, a second film called Online Dating for Food (which she describes as “a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac”) and a children’s book called Tilda Pinkerton (which she describes as “a modern-day Willie Wonka meets Mary Poppins. Tilda Pinkerton collects hats.”) Read more about Shelton’s upcoming projects here.
And add to that list 1) Drive across country to Los Angeles with photographer/filmmaker Judson Matthews while making a film of both their road trip and their experience of reading the Bible while on said road trip (no joke: see Bible Road Trip). And 2) Pick up her dog in L.A. before moving back to Asheville. Where she was born. And where she plans to make her next films.
“To have the freedom to do independent filmmaking, it’s really important to have the love of the community,” says Shelton. “In L.A. you call up the film commission and they’re like, ‘Get in line.’ Here, I had lunch with them.” (In fact, in 2005 Mayor Bellamy named November 6 ‘Angela Shelton Day.’)
Says Matthews, “Success begets success. The thing that the artists in Asheville don’t have is that connection to Hollywood. Angela has those connections so now she could live in Timbuktu. It doesn’t matter.” According to Matthews, while Asheville attracts a lot of artists, it doesn’t attract as many producers. Film, he says, is “a business. It’s an investment. It’s art but it’s lots and lots of money.” Matthews will team up with Shelton on her upcoming projects.
Both filmmakers hope that Shelton’s projects will attract both national attention and investors to WNC. They hope to purchase land on which to build a base; they also plan to work with local talent starting with the first Asheville-based film, Stirring Up Trouble, though Shelton says “I might bring a couple friends from New York who bring a big audience.”