Angela Shelton
Born December 5, 1972 (1972-12-05) (age 48)
Asheville, North Carolina

Angela Shelton (born December 5, 1972) is an American screenwriter, actress, and documentary film producer, best known for the film Tumbleweeds and the documentary Searching for Angela Shelton, which she wrote, directed, and edited. She has also just released her book, Finding Angela Shelton: The True Story of One Woman's Triumph over Sexual Abuse.

Early career

Shelton was a co-screenwriter (with then-husband Gavin O'Connor) and executive producer for the 1999 film Tumbleweeds, based upon her experiences with her serial-marrying mother, to whom she was returned after being in foster care. She also has acted in the films Comfortably Numb (1995), The Shrink Is In (2001), The Big Time (2002 television movie), The Safe Side, a 2004 instructional video, and Beautiful Dreamer (aka Daysleeper) (2009). On television, Shelton has appeared in Pacific Blue, Chicago Hope, and Becker.

Searching for Angela Shelton

After her parents divorced, Shelton lived with her father, stepmother, stepbrother, and stepsister in North Carolina. She and her siblings were sexually molested by her father and step mother and eventually removed from their care and placed in foster care. The events in her childhood inspired her to make a documentary.

In 2001, Shelton undertook the production of a documentary in which she travelled the United States in an effort to interview 40 of the 76 anonymous women, who shared her name, whom she found while searching the Internet.

Shelton found that many of the women whom she interviewed had either been raped, beaten, or molested. Shelton, inspired to document her quest to find the women and to catalogue their traumas, rented a motor home and spent 57 days traversing the United States, spending nearly $300,000, some of which was donated by personal friends and family and professional contacts. Shelton also confronted her father, her own abuser, during the production of the film, meeting with him on Father's Day 2001 to discuss her molestation. It took three years and three different editors to complete the film. In the end Shelton edited the film herself.

Shelton chose to promote and distribute the film independently, notably appearing in 2004 on the American television programs 48 Hours and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Since then, in an effort to bring attention to domestic violence, especially when perpetrated against women and children, Shelton has travelled the United States speaking at colleges and universities and film festivals. In April 2006, an edited version aired on the cable television channel Lifetime, as part of their campaign to end violence against women. Presently, Shelton presents the film and gives speeches at colleges and universities across the country in an effort to end violence against women.


Angela Shelton won a regional Emmy for her appearance as Safe Side Superchick in The Safe Side Series created by Baby Einstein's Julie Clark and America's Most Wanted's John Walsh

Angela's documentary Searching for Angela Shelton won 12 awards,[1] including audience awards for best documentary at the 2004 Asheville and Austin Film Festivals. The mayor of Asheville, proclaimed April 29, 2005 Angela Shelton Day.[2]

  • Newport Beach Festival - Best Independent Documentary
  • Durango Film Festival - Audience Award
  • Asheville Film Festival - Best Documentary
  • Sonoma Valley Film Festival - Audience Award
  • Zoie Fest - Best Documentary
  • Memphis International Film Festival - Best Documentary
  • Austin Film Festival - Best Documentary

Angela Shelton Foundation

In response to the acclaim received by her documentary, Shelton was gifted with the Angela Shelton Foundation in 2003.

Angela created the Survivor Manual as a way to help abuse survivors and their loved ones find healing. The site which houses Angela's articles, videos, and new submissions by others who share Angela's vision of a better world.

The Angela Shelton Foundation has been dissolved and is no longer active.

Angela donated the foundation's assets to the 501C3 Darkness to Light in an effort to have her work in the trauma and recovery movement continue to reach more people as she went back to her writing and film making career.

The Survivor Manual is still running and donors are directed to Darkness to Light.

Finding Angela Shelton

In April 2007, she released her book, Finding Angela Shelton: The True Story of One Woman's Triumph over Sexual Abuse. The book is not based upon her movie, although it does run parallel to it. In it, Angela shares how making the film forced her to face her past. She wrote the book to call for a healing revolution after seeing so many people in pain. The movie breaks the silence and the book breaks the cycle.

In 2009, Angela released a revised second edition on Amazon called Finding Angela Shelton Recovered with an addition chapter explaining all that happened since she made her film and why she went back to writing more fun things. It also is literally recovered with a new cover.

Other Accolades

  • Angela Shelton was presented with the Voice of Courage award from Darkness to Light.
  • Angela was also presented with the Humanitarian Award from the Cultural Enrichment Committee at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.


External links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.