You Can Be a Filmmaker
Katherine “Katie” Shannon ’04 has always felt comfortable behind the camera.
Growing up in Agawam, she was the one filming her family’s home movies. But it wasn’t until she was a senior in Professor Ron Leone’s Film Theory class that her life changed.
“That really started my desire and path into filmmaking,” says Shannon. “Professor Leone wrote me a recommendation to help me get into Emerson for graduate school, and things just snowballed from there.”
Today, Shannon is founder of Boston- based Thompson Films and an adjunct professor at Stonehill, teaching Digital Media Writing and Advanced Film Production.
The filmmaker writes and directs K&A— a web comedy series about pals Karly and Alex and their antics around Boston. The episode “Gay Camp,” won Best Comedy in 2016 at ITVFest. K&A was also selected for the Boston Women’s Film Fest in 2020 and won Best LGBTQ+ Comedy Film at the Atlanta Film Festival this past April.
The series is often inspired by Shannon’s real life. “My best friend from Stonehill and I are very close. I take aspects of our lives and exaggerate them,” she says. “When we hang out, I take notes in my phone of funny things, and then I write an episode surrounding that.”
A lacrosse player while at Stonehill, Shannon shot a feature-length documentary that followed the women’s lacrosse team throughout their 2012 season. “Lacrosse is very underrepresented—particularly women’s lacrosse,” she notes.
Shannon ended up documenting 113 days from the Skyhawks’ first day of practice to the national championship. The documentary was later released in 10 episodes on the Lacrosse Network and Whistle Sports YouTube Channel.
Since 2019, Shannon has served as director of programming for Boston’s Wicked Queer Film Festival, where she has also had multiple films screened over the years.
“Getting to see how a festival works, showcasing queer artists and bringing the Boston community together has been amazing. Seeing such great work all the time continues to push me to want to be a better filmmaker,” says Shannon.
In the classroom, Shannon aims to show that filmmaking is a realistic job. “Sometimes the arts are overlooked, or students may not think it’s something they could actually do for a career,” says Shannon. “I hope I’ve shown them that I came from this school, and a career in screenwriting or filmmaking is something you can very much do.”