Film premiere held in celebration of Women’s History Month

Premiere – From l to r: Caitlin McAvoy, Kayla Saunders, Chloe Shelton, and Ashley Smith.

Courtesy of Chloe Shelton Films and Kayla B. Sanders Productions

Chloe Shelton Films and Kayla B. Productions announced on Thursday, March 18, four female directors of films that have been in production for a total of over two years celebrated the completion of five projects with a socially distanced and masked audience of mostly cast, crew and benefactors at the Academy Center for the Arts.

They celebrated Women’s History Month with this All-Female Writer/Director Film Premiere that included films by Chloe Shelton of Salem, Kayla Saunders of Roanoke, Caitlin McAvoy of Harrisonburg and Ashley Smith of Pennsylvania.

The films included: “Wayward,” a 22 minute long story of a family divided by strong political views in Colonial America, written and directed by Chloe Shelton. Executive Producer Dave Perry of LA, California. Cinematographer Kayla Saunders. Filmed in part on location at William Preston’s Smithfield in Blacksburg and in Bedford.

“Dreaming About You,” a 7 minute long music video for Sullivan Smith and the Stray Lions, an indie rock band from Roanoke. Written and Directed by Chloe Shelton. Cinematographer Zane Farmer of Roanoke. Filmed in part at the Pink Cadillac Diner in Natural Bridge as well as locations in Salem and Ferrum.

“Almost Home,” a 27 minute long fictional story that explores the aftermath of the space shuttle Columbia disaster and a family’s struggle of coming to terms with the death of a daughter and mother. Written and Directed by Kayla Saunders.
Cinematographer Dave Perry of LA, California. Produced by Kayla Saunders and Chloe Shelton. Filmed on locations around Roanoke and Botetourt.

“Libby,” a 37 minute long documentary exploring the life of 105 year old Libby Custer of Harrisonburg, VA and heiress of the Wampler and Custer families turkey empire. Through her niece and the Writer/Director, Caitlin McAvoy, we are taken on a journey to discover what it means to “Get up, Dress up and Show up.” Made in association with Chloe Shelton Films and Lightship Productions.

“I Need Coffee” is a 6 minute long film by Actress and new Writer and Director, Ashley Smith of Pennsylvania with ties to Virginia through her alma mater, Liberty University. This short comedy the audience watches as the need for coffee escalates as the day goes on.

The Long Story Short Premiere Film Festival Celebrating Women in Film was attended by approximately 150 people, by invitation only to keep with the 20% capacity in the venue. All guests were socially distanced and enjoyed a safe, masked up event. Emcee for the evening was Tremayne Edwards, director of Community Involvement Academy for the Arts, Lynchburg.

Sullivan Smith and the Stray Lions, an Indie rock band based in Roanoke, provided the preshow music. Lead by Sullivan Smith, a singer-songwriter, the Stray Lions make up the rest of the band and are comprised of various artists that play with Sullivan in shows and on his EPs. Joining him on the night of the premiere was Roanoke actor, singer, musician and dancer, Isaac Bouldin. You can find Sullivan Smith and the Stray Lions on Apple Music, Soundcloud and Spotify as well as YouTube.

Chloe Shelton is an award winning writer/director. She is a recipient of four student Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and has received over 40 awards for her films. Four of her films have been screened in Times Square. An avid history buff, she is honored to be the current Young Preservationist of the Year through Preservation Virginia for her work bringing history to life through film. She is also a member of the Roanoker Magazine’s Class of 2021 Top 40 Under 40.

Kayla Saunders is a writer and director of dramatic scripts. Having received her degree in Digital Video and Cinema from JMU, she has been working professionally in the film industry for five years. In that time she has worked on award-winning films such as “The Swerve,” and popular television shows such as “House Hunters International.”

Caitlin McAvoy, a native of Harrisonburg, graduated from JMU with a degree in musical theatre. She has worked professionally in stage and film in NYC and Virginia. She makes her directorial debut with this film.

Ashley Smith, a classically trained actress, has performed on stage, television and film. After receiving a degree in music from Liberty University, Ashley took to the screen appearing in “House of Cards,” “Juanita,” and other various short films and theatre productions.