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avatar for Barry Shils

Barry Shils

Goldstreet Pictures
Director
Santa Monica
Barry Shils has produced, directed, shot and edited documentaries, dramatic features, dance films and music videos. His credits include the award-winning documentary "WIGSTOCK: The Movie" which chronicled the drag performance culture of New York City in the 90s (starring RuPaul, Lypsinka, and The Lady Bunny.) "Wigstock" was released theatrically by The Samuel Goldwyn Company and is available on DVD through MGM Home Entertainment. A 35mm print of "Wigstock" has been preserved at the UCLA Film Archive by the Outfest Legacy Project, which will be hosting a 20th Anniversary Screening of the film on Saturday December 5th, 2015 at The Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater.

Barry produced and directed ten episodes of HBO’s ground-breaking reality series “America Undercover” (Sheila Nevins, Executive Producer). Shils’ feature credits include the cult films: MOTORAMA (a surreal road movie with Drew Barrymore, Meat Loaf, Garrett Morris and Jordan Michael (distributed by Two Moon Releasing and SONY Pictures Home Ent.) and the dark comedy VAMPIRE’S KISS (starring Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Beals, and Maria Conchita Alonso – released by Hemdale / MGM Home Entertainment). Cage was nominated for a Spirit Award for Best Actor for his performance in this film. Both "Motorama" and "Vampire's Kiss" were penned by Joseph Minion (screenwriter of Scorsese's "After Hours").

Shils’ collaboration "BEEHIVE" (broadcast on PBS) won the Bessie Award for Best Dance Film and was exhibited & distributed by the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. "Beehive" led to Barry teaching courses in "Choreography for the Camera" at The Scotland School for Contemporary Dance and at ARTEZ , The European Dance School at Arnhem, Holland.

Barry Shils’ interest in making non-fiction films about important social issues that concern young people, began in the early 1980s with "DOING JUSTICE," his documentary about the Juvenile Justice System in America, which focused on alternatives to incarceration for young people trapped inside the revolving door of the system. The film is narrated by Ellen Burstyn and was broadcast on PBS stations. While engaged with this project, Barry created a video production program for incarcerated youth in Philadelphia. To this day, Barry continues to teach and supervise documentary production workshops for high school students through an Artist-in-Residence grant from The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Shils’ movies have premiered worldwide at festivals including Sundance, Toronto and the Berlin Film Festivals. His films have appeared on HBO, PBS, IFC, The Sundance Channel, Logo, and the SyFy Channel.

Prior to making his own feature films, Barry worked on movies directed by renowned filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Larry Cohen, Walter Hill, and Philip Kaufman. Shils’ production jobs included: Location Scout, Location Manager, Production Manager, Assistant Director and Second Unit Director.

Shils' recently-completed documentary "GENERATION A : Portraits of Autism and the Arts" (premiering at The Awareness Film Festival in L. A.) is a one-hour documentary about young people on the autism spectrum who are utilizing the arts to reach their highest potential. Autism role model, Dr. Temple Grandin, leads the conversation.
Barry received his B.A. from Yale University and an M.A. from Hunter College (CUNY). He is a member of The Directors Guild of America and a former member of The Screen Actors Guild.