Vivian Schilling attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and also studied under the legendary Stella Adler before embarking upon a multifaceted career in both literature and film.
Schilling has penned two novels to date, both released to critical acclaim. "Highly respectable writing," touted the Chicago Sun-Times of Schilling's first effort, Sacred Prey (St. Martin's Press). "Schilling shows deft storytelling ability," said Publisher's Weekly.
Schilling's second effort, the epic novel of suspense, Quietus (Penguin) received praise for its stunning prose and bold foray into controversial themes. "A profoundly insightful and engaging thriller," said The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Quietus is a great gothic raven perched somewhere between Anne Rice and Iris Murdoch. Schilling herself—in her deft melding of mythic animus and modern anxiety— seems like the bastard daughter of Carl Jung and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley," said Time Out New York.
In Schilling’s early film career, she found success as an actor and screenwriter in a variety of independent films, for which she received a Blockbuster Rising Star Award and Saturn Award. Schilling has had the distinction of speaking at the National Archives as an author and filmmaker in the Discovering the Civil War film and lecture series. Her portrayal of real life author and feminist Gertrude Atherton in the film “Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories” set the backdrop for the discussions.
In 2012, Schilling was engaged by Paris-based Eurocine Films as the writer, producer and director of the English adaptation of Toys in the Attic, based on the stop-motion, animated feature Na Pude by revered Czech director Jirí Barta. Schilling also provided the voice of Buttercup alongside co-stars Forest Whitaker, Joan Cusack and Cary Elwes.
A long-standing advocate of animal welfare and conservation, Schilling recently completed work as writer and producer of the French documentary Bonobos: Back to the Wild. The film, by noted documentarian Alain Tixier, chronicles the important work of naturalist Claudine André in her efforts to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned bonobos and to release them back into the wild. The film's proceeds benefit the Lola Ya Bonobo Rescue Sanctuary founded by André in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Schilling is currently at work on her third novel. She divides her time between Los Angeles and the Ozark Mountains.