On Thursday, March 18th, 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.
Chloe Shelton Films & Kayla B. Productions
Covid-Safe Film Premiere Held in Celebration of Women's History Month
Academy Center for the Arts, Lynchburg, VA
Roanoke, VA & Lynchburg, VA – 3/24/21 – Chloe Shelton Films and Kayla B. Productions announced today
On Thursday, March 18th, 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. It was 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.
• Sullivan Smith and the Stray Lions, an Indie rock band based in Roanoke, provided
show 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
• 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
• 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
• Emcee for the evening was Tremayne Edwards, Director of Community Involvement at the Academy for the Arts in Lynchburg, Va.