Canadian Women Film Directors Database
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Kathleen Shannon (partial data)

Country: Canada
Born: 1935
Died: 1998

Films directed by Kathleen Shannon

Quotes by Kathleen Shannon

"A meeting was held recently for all the women who are interested in discussing a possible women's unit for 1975. I think that a women's unit in English Production at the Film Board would be justified. Somebody said to me the other day, 'But don't you think the ideal would be for women and men to work together?' But I think that the credibility of women's films would come about a lot better if women worked together for awhile. We've been working each on our own for such a long time. And I think we could develop really different kinds of documentaries. I think that would happen. I think it could be very fine."
-- Kathleen Shannon (source)

"I think I identify with all the women in my films [the Working Mothers series]. When my child was young I was working full time and was also responsible for all the housework, the shopping, and the cooking, and trying to spend some time with my child every day in a relaxed, playful atmosphere. And I was also responsible for a lot of work for my husband who free-lanced and needed a lot of support. And when I was doing all that, I perpetually felt inadequate, as if I were on the brink of failure all the time. But I think that if I'd seen films which, in effect, said, 'This is an impossible situation,' and if I could have seen that other people were in very similar situations, it would have given me a lot of support. [...] It would perhaps have given me enough strength to go some distance towards changing the situation."
-- Kathleen Shannon (source)

"We [women filmmakers] are constantly discredited. Because our films are different than men's films it is assumed that we are ignorant of the rules and don't know any better, The truth is that we see things differently, We make different kinds of juxtapositions. We see connections and things more in their interwoveness—which men call diffuse."
-- Kathleen Shannon (source)

Quotes about Kathleen Shannon

"The Working Mothers films were created and distributed at a particularly propitious historical moment, just far enough into the second wave of feminism (or women's liberation movement as it was then more commonly known) to be informed by this small but rapidly expanding grassroots and intellectual movement but before it had become engaged in the exhausting (though critically necessary) debates and divisions that would absorb it a few years later."
-- Rita Fraticelli (source)

"[Kathleen Shannon] had a major impact on many Canadian female directors, including Gail Singer, Anne Wheeler, Terre Nash and Bonnie Sherr Klein. 'If the front door was closed to women filmmakers, Kathleen would let us in the back door,' Ms. Nash said. 'If the back door was closed, she'd let us in through the windows.'"
-- Globe and Mail (source)

"As the En tant que femmes program indicates, women are playing an increasingly active role in filmmaking at the Film Board, increased activity that extends beyond this one Société Nouvelle-based program. Within the English-language Challenge for Change, Kathleen Shannon is presently involved in completing the last four in her group of 12 films collectively called, Working Mothers. Eight of the films have been completed; all are in colour and range in length from seven to fifteen minutes. Each film deals with a working mother in a different life situation: from university professor in Tiger on a Tight Leash, and nurse in Luckily I Need Little Sleep, to a mother on welfare in Would I Ever Like to Work; from the mother of a nuclear family in They Appreciate You More, to members of a commune in Extensions of the Family."
-- Laurinda Hartt (source)

"The principal advocate behind the notion of establishing a women's film studio, per se, was Kathleen Shannon, who had first championed the idea in 1971 during the heyday of the Film Board's 'grass roots' film program, Challenge for Change. Shannon, as the new studio's executive producer, was to become the first woman to head an NFB film unit since the Second World War. Between 1971 and 1973 she almost single-handedly produced, directed and edited a set of ten consciousness-raising documentaries about the plight of working mothers. [...] Shannon's 'Working Mothers' films, along with the five francophone productions of the 'En tant que femmes' film series produced by Anne Claire Poirier, were met with an overwhelming response by the Canadian public."
-- Chris Scherbarth (source)

Quote about Kathleen Shannon [in French]

"Bien que [la série 'Working Mothers'] ait contribué à rompre le silence de trente ans à l'Office national du film, on doit néanmoins s'interroger sur sa forme et sa structure et sur sa place dans la tradition du documentaire tel que le prônait [John] Grierson. Celui-ci a toujours considéré le documentaire comme étant 'l'actualité traitée de façon créative'. Les documentaires du Studio D ont plutôt suivi les formules traditionnelles du réalisme : la transparence photographique et la valorisation de la sincérité et de l'authenticité. Dans la série 'Working Mothers', ce réalisme allait de pair avec une concentration exclusive sur la personne et sur l'expérience comme seuls moyens d'analyse. En l'absence de toute information contextuelle sur la nature systémique et collective de l'infériorité des femmes, la série n'a fait qu'observer passivement."
-- Brenda Longfellow (source)

For QUOTES about a specific film by Kathleen Shannon, please see:   They Appreciate You More    Dream of a Free Country: A Message from Nicaraguan Women   

Notes about Kathleen Shannon


Bibliography for Kathleen Shannon

Section 1: Publications by Kathleen Shannon

Section 2: Publications about Kathleen Shannon

Book Chapters

Newspaper or Magazine Articles


Web Sites

Archival Collections

These archival institutions have holdings related to Kathleen Shannon or her films:

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