Katja Esson has directed a variety of award-winning documentaries, short films and commercials. Born and raised in Germany, Esson brings a quirky European sensibility to the distinctively American subjects she chooses. Her documentary short FERRY TALES which turns the unlikely setting of the Staten Island Ferry Powder Room into a celebration of sisterhood received an Academy Award®-nomination in 2004 and premiered on HBO.
In 2004 Esson founded her own production company, Penelope Pictures. She is frequently commissioned for documentaries on American subjects for European audiences. In 2006, Esson completed HOLE IN THE SKY - THE SCARS OF 9/11, which premiered on ARD and received the Gold Award at the World Media Festival in Germany. Der Spiegel wrote "There are many shades of memory in this insightful, intelligent film, but weepiness it not one of them."
A SEASON OF MADNESS (2006), her first narrative short film, is now playing at international film festivals. Currently, Esson is in post-production with BREAST SIDE STORY a documentary about the cultural complexities behind the simple act of breastfeeding and she is in production with POETRY OF RESILIENCE, a film about seven poets who survived human atrocities. She is also preparing SKYDANCER, a feature documentary about the Mohawk tradition of ironworking. Esson is invited regularly as a speaker and teacher at workshops, seminars and universities. She is the recipient of the 2007 Simon’s Fellowship of the Humanities from Kansas University. (2/10)
A film by Katja Esson, 2003, 40 min., Color
Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short, FERRY TALES exposes a secret world that exists in the powder room of the Staten Island Ferry--a plac...
A film by Katja Esson, 2010, 36 min., Color
After filmmaker Katja Esson’s sister gave birth in Germany, she was able to breastfeed her baby anywhere and at any time. Returning home to New York, ...
Poetry of Resilience
A film by Katja Esson, 2011, 40 min., Color
Academy® Award nominated director Katja Esson’s (FERRY TALES, LATCHING ON) exquisitely made film explores survival, strength and the power of the huma...
A film by Katja Esson, 2011, 75 min., Color
Renowned for their balance and skill, six generations of Mohawk men have been leaving their families behind on the reservation to travel to New York C...