Michelle Melles (she/her) is a seasoned director, writer and producer with a background in independent documentary media, non-fiction television, and magazine journalism. She has worked for some of the top broadcasters and television shows in Canada, produced and directed numerous short TV documentaries that have been nationally broadcast and internationally-distributed. Under her new banner Parallel Vision Pictures, she seeks to tell independent, multidimensional and engaging stories that challenge preconceived ideas and offer unique ways of perceiving the world. She received the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant (SSHRC, 2020) from the Canadian Government for her work in autoethnographic documentary filmmaking and transformative mental health; holds a M.F.A. in Documentary Media from X-Ryerson University (summa cum laude, Gold Medal, 2021). Drunk on Too Much Life is Michelle's first feature length documentary film.
Michelle Melles is an award-winning Canadian-American filmmaker who began her career producing and story-editing the internationally-syndicated, nationally broadcast Canadian docu-series SexTV(1999-2010). This ground-breaking, multiple Gemini nominated and Gemini-award winning docu-series explored issues surrounding sexuality and gender around the world in a thought-provoking and cutting-edge way. She produced numerous documentaries for the show's ten season run focusing on strong and complicated female characters and the complexity of sexual and gender expression in the modern world. Notable documentaries during this period are: “Intersexuality: Redefining Sex” (2000) examines the medical ethics of surgically altering children born Intersex; “Sex, Love & Race: A Legacy of Slavery in America” (2001) (shot just before 9/11 in Louisiana and Mississippi) explores the impact of slavery on African American relationships and interracial relationships; past, present, and future; “Unnatural Selection: Eugenics in North America” (2005) investigates the Eugenics movement through the story of Leilani Muir (1944-2016) who was sterilized without her consent at the Provincial Training School for Mental Defectives; “Quiverfull - Shunned From God’s Army” (2008) examines The Quiverfull movement in the United States through the story of one its key excommunicated female leaders; and “Sister Wives: Born into Polygamy” (2008) tells the story of the oldest and youngest sister wives who fled from their husband and their Mexican Mormon compound to gain freedom in the U.S.
Under her banner Parallel Vision Pictures, Michelle now produces independent social issues documentaries that challenge preconceived ideas and offer unique ways of perceiving ourselves, each other, and the world.
She holds an MFA in Documentary Media from The Creative School at X-Ryerson University in Toronto (Gold Medal, 2021, summa cum laude); received the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant from the Canadian Government for her work in autoethnographic documentary filmmaking and transformative mental health (2020), and holds a BA from the University of Toronto (high distinction; faculty scholar, 1995).
Drunk on Too Much Life (2021) is Michelle's first feature length documentary.
Films by Michelle Melles
Drunk on Too Much Life is an intimate documentary that follows the filmmaker, her husband and their 21-year-old daughter’s epic journey from locked-down psych wards and diagnostic labels towards expansive worlds of creativity, connection and greater meaning. On their journey, the family learns that madness has meaning that goes far beyond brain chemistry