Michelle Melles is an American-Canadian filmmaker, story-editor and director based in Toronto. Raised by a mother consumed with fictional stories and an artist father who taught her about America’s “military-industrial complex” at the age of 4, she was bound to be some form of activist, artist, and story-teller. She has worked for some of the top broadcasters and television shows in Canada and has produced and directed numerous short documentary films. She is a fierce believer that the personal is in dialogue with the political. She also believes that good story-telling challenges our preconceived ideas and offers unique ways of perceiving each other, ourselves, and the world. She holds an MFA in Documentary Media from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) graduating summa cum laude, awarded the Gold Medal and received a Social Sciences and Research Humanities (SSHRC) grant from the Canadian Government for her research and documentary work. “Drunk on Too Much Life” is Michelle's first feature length documentary film (New Day Films, 2021).
Michelle began her career producing, directing, and story-editing the internationally-syndicated, nationally broadcast and critically-acclaimed 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; 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 in Alberta, Canada; Quiverfull - Shunned From God’s Army (2008) examines The Quiverfull movement in the United States through the story of one its key excommunicated and now feminist 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.