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Katt Shea

Katt Shea

By the age of thirty writer-director Katt Shea was honored by retrospectives of her five critically-acclaimed films at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the British Film Institute in London and at the Oldenberg Film Festival in Germany. She also won the 1996 Silver Award for screenwriting at the Houston Film Festival. Shea has been profiled in a special issue of Us Magazine dedicated to the role of sex in entertainment and on the front page of The New York Times Arts & Leisure section, in which writer Caryn James credits Shea with starting a new genre, the commercial art film.

Even though Shea has worked almost exclusively in the low budget independent world, her work has started trends which resonate through larger budget studio movies. Poison Ivy, which was a significant video hit and boasts the highest turns per copy in video history, inspired dozens of imitators. Stripped to Kill started a genre of stripper thrillers. Dance of the Damned has been called the precursor to Interview With the Vampire. Andrew Sarris has praised her "kinetic talent combined with a flare for complex narrative. Ms. Shea does little things so well that big meanings flow out of them. Peter Travers adds, The emotional resonance, visual sophistication and strong subtext of Shea's work fuse to create a distinctive style worth monitoring, describing her work as a wild ride with the top down into unchartered territory."

Shea credits Roger Corman for giving her a start. She also credits her collaborators, including directors of photography Phedon Papamichael and Oscar winner Janusz Kaminsky, for much of her success. She has also been championed by acclaimed veteran directors Sydney Pollack and Francis Ford Coppola.

Before making the move to writing and directing, Shea appeared in a small number of features, including Scarface and Psycho 3. Her appearance as the Deputy DA in The Rage: Carrie 2 marks the first time Shea has appeared in one of her own films.

Shea intermittenly teaches a comprehensive course in directing at UCLA Extension and is on their Advisory Board.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Katt Shea Facts

OccupationDirector, Writer

Selected Filmography

Not available.