Writer-director Katt Shea has been honored by retrospectives of five of her critically acclaimed films at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, The British Film Institute in London and various festivals throughout Europe. She also won the Silver Award for screenwriting at The Houston Film Festival. In 2011 she won the Trailblazing Award at Bleedfest for “inspiring a generation of young filmmakers”. Katt has been profiled on the front page of The New York Times Arts & Leisure section and in a special issue of US Magazine dedicated to the role of the director in filmmaking. Critics have compared her to Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and even Ingmar Bergman.
Andrew Sarris says of her, “I see an unusually kinetic talent combined with a flare for complex narrative. Ms. Shea does little things so well that big meanings flow out of them.”
Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers adds, “The emotional resonance, visual sophistication and strong subtext of Shea’s work fuse to create a distinctive style worth monitoring. Look at Jonathan Demme’s Caged Heat, Martin Scorsese’s Boxcar Bertha. Shea follows in that tradition and does it proud.”
New York Times writer Caryn James credits Katt with starting a new genre, about the screenings of Poison Ivy at the Sundance Film Festival she wrote: “One of the best competition films is Poison Ivy directed by Katt Shea whose previous movies were made for Roger Corman. Four of these movies will be shown at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan which says everything about the genre she and Sundance are helping to define.”
Katt’s first studio film, The Rage, Carrie 2 MGM/UA, opened at number 2 at the box office, the film received rave reviews in The L.A. Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Post, The Village Voice and The Nation. Kevin Thomas of The Los Angeles Times called her “…a master of genre. Shea’s ability to play various elements against one another gives “The Rage” welcome complexity and tension.” Stuart Klawans of The Nation raves the Katt Shea’s movies are “…remarkable for their disquieting themes, for their style (bold, fluent and varied)…Over the past dozen years only five or six American women besides Shea have managed to turn out a comparable number of commercial features…Look at he beauty and terror that Katt Shea can achieve and ask whether there’s motivation today for The Rage.”
Katt’s movies seem to set trends within the industry. Poison Ivy, which was a significant video hit and boasts the highest turns per copy in video history, inspired dozens of high profile imitators and the influence of her even her earliest low budget films, is still felt within the thriller genre.
Katt’S first TV movie for CBS, called Sharing The Secret, won the prestigious Peabody Award. Airing on sweeps week, The Hollywood Reporter paid tribute: “Some first rate performances, along with Shea’s fine tuned direction create Sharing The Secret’s intelligent two hours.” Her next TV movie, Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary, is the first adaptation of a novel by the largest selling female author in history. It aired on CBS during February sweeps week. Variety said, “Director and co-screenwriter Katt Shea hits all the right beats, establishes the characters with depth and even invests the genre piece with some stylish dream sequences.” …Perhaps Peter Travers sums things up best when he says, “Why settle for a usual walk around the block when Shea offers a wild ride with the top down into unchartered territory?”
Katt has developed a revolutionary technique for training actors, her on-going classes really develope students, teaching them how to bring their best game to each individual audition or job. Katt has also dedicated her time to writing a novel and doing script doctoring on feature films. She also adapted the thriller novel “The Tutor” by Peter Abrahams for Bob Chartoff and Mike Medavoy and is contracted to direct.
Currently, Katt and producers, Erik Smith and Paul Pompian, are casting for the Indie feature “The List”, a provocative teen drama, written by Shea. She is also working with Mary Lambert and Nancy Kirhoffer on an anthology series called Hystere, Imps of Perversity, a twisted, modern and controversial interpretation of Poe also written and directed by six other maverick women of horror whom Katt and Mary have chosen.
Veteran filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola and Sidney Pollack have championed Katt. She is actively involved with the DGA and is a voting member of the Academy.