Shelley was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia but moved extensively throughout Canada with her parents, finally settling in Burnaby, BC at the age of eight following her father’s accidental death. She grew up to be somewhat of a “tomboy” playing all manor of “non-traditional girls” sports – hockey, rugby, and judo. This love of sports led her to attend Simon Fraser University, majoring in Kinesiology, and further led to her coaching certification in Track and Field and Wrestling.
It was through her role as a coach that she met her husband, Pier, a deaf-blind Paralympian in judo and wrestling, when she took a summer job with BC Blind Sports. Her relationship with Pier allowed her to accompany him all over the world in his athletic endeavors and also encouraged her to become one of the pioneers in women’s wrestling in Canada; winning three National titles and finishing seventh in the 1995 World Championships.
Shelley and Pier, now retired from athletics, have three grown children and it was at this juncture in her life that Shelley decided to go back to school and try something that she had fallen in love with in high school – film. She was first introduced to film production by one of her high school English teachers. She worked with Super 8 film and slides to produce a short, five-minute film as well as a slide show set to music. This was long before the digital age and she learned how to edit the old fashioned way – real “cut and paste.”
Even before she decided on studying Kinesiology, Shelley contemplated attending Capilano College’s film program. More than twenty years later she finally did so, enrolling in the Documentary Film Program. It was here that she met her future business partner, Jacek Numenski, a fellow documentary student.
Now, as a follow-up her extensive training at Capilano, and as co-founder of VanWestFilm Productions Inc., Shelley intends to bring her love of film to the screen. In addition to documentaries, she enjoys psychological horror films, dramas, and especially science-fiction films, but, like her partner, is open to all genres for both the big and small screen.