Shayna Connelly is a filmmaker based in Chicago whose work explores hauntings, liminality and the boundaries between documentary, experimental and fiction filmmaking. Inspired by a book on haunted houses shelved in the non-fiction section of her childhood library, Connelly’s lifelong obsession with ghosts led her to explore trauma, place, identity and the link between fear and desire. Her hybrid approach to cinema questions the strict categorization of film modes and genres. She enjoys breaking cinematic rules regarding character, action and structure while exploring subjectivity, surrealism and abstraction.
Her recent work features a collection of eight films called A Memory Palace of Ghosts that connect the ways hauntings affect our daily lives. In the series, hauntings arise from traumatic events, mental illness, everyday routines, the search for truth and the aftermath of grief. Such hauntings culminate in a questioning of her identities as feminist, mother and artist.
She holds an MFA in screenwriting and directing from Columbia College Chicago. Connelly is a process focused teacher applying techniques from directing to other areas of filmmaking including editing, writing and film production. She has developed classes such as Creative Methodologies in Film and Television, The Supernatural in Film and Psychotic Women in Horror Cinema. She is the faculty advisor for DePaul Film Fatales, a student organization dedicated to increasing the number of films by, for and about women.
Works in progress: Love as Practice for Dying (narrative short in collaboration with Mark Metcalf); Dizygotic (experimental ghost story); Bananas Girl (documentary short).
Awards: Her films have won awards at Big Muddy Film Festival, Columbus International Film Festival, Cinepocalypse, IC Docs, Middle Coast Film Festival, Milwaukee Women’s Film Festival, International Horror Hotel. In 2016 she was named one of Chicago’s 50 Screen Gems by Newcity Magazine.
Notable Festival Screenings: Palm Springs ShortFest, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Athens International Film + Video Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival, Cinepocalypse, Crossroads Film Festival, Chicago Underground, Sydney Underground, San Diego Underground, Big Sky Documentary, San Francisco Documentary, Chicago Feminist Film Festival, Film and Video Poetry Society, The Artists’ Forum, Oak Cliff Film Festival, Stranger with My Face, Derby Film Festival.
Alternative Venues: Heaven Gallery, Whitespace Gallery, Single Frame, Nonplussed Film Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, Blacklight Screening Series, Milwaukee and New York Paranormal Film Festivals, North Portland Unknown, South London Shorts.
Cinema Production, Directing
Specific Research Area
Directing, editing, ghosts, hauntings and horror cinema