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 infiltrate 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 and is an Associate Professor of Film and Television at DePaul University. 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); Fucked Up Point Blank (found footage film); Bananas Girl (documentary short).