Katja Esson

Katja Esson is an Academy Award-nominated writer/director based in New York City.

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 2006, Esson completed HOLE IN THE SKY - THE SCARS OF 9/11 (New York im Schatten der Türme), which premiered on ARD and received the Gold Award at the World Media Festival. A Season of Madness (2006) is a narrative short film based on a short story by best-selling Author Hanan al-Shaykh.

Her documentary, SKYDANCER, is about the Mohawk ironworkers who are responsible for constructing America's cityscape; the film is a provocative examination of Native American life in the 21st century. Other credits include VERTICAL TRAVELER which explores the pioneering spirit of New York City through the metaphoric story of the city's unique relationship with elevators; LATCHING ON about the politics of breastfeeding in America; and "HOOKER, HARLOT, WHORE, about the history of prostitution in Europe. POETRY OF RESILIENCE is about six international poets who have survived - and written about - some of the world's most unspeakable crimes against humanity. The film received a Cinema for Peace Award-nomination during the Berlin Film Festival in 2012. Esson's films have screened at film festivals around the world and been broadcast on HBO, PBS and ARTE among others.

Esson has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council of the Arts and the Jerome Foundation. She has been nominated for the Rockefeller Media Arts and the USA Artist Fellowships and is a recipient of the the Simons Public Humanities Fellowship.

Esson is currently in production with Cantineros De Cuba, a film that reflects on the story of Cuba, a country undergoing its greatest transformation since 1959. She also has created, written and directed two 5-part series for ARTE: Backroads USA (2013) and American Rivers (2016). (03/19)

Available Title(s):


Skydancer


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...

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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...

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Latching On The Politics of Breastfeeding in America


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, ...

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Ferry Tales


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...

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