Shannon Walsh is a filmmaker, writer, interdisciplinary scholar, and activist who brings a passionate and compassionate understanding of humanity to every project she undertakes. Long before Shannon’s work was recognized through honours such as the Governor General’s Award and the Guggenheim Fellowship, she worked tirelessly advocating for and documenting people at the margins of society. Dedicating her academic and filmmaking career to those on the frontlines of issues including the HIV/AIDS epidemic and climate crises, Shannon not only spotlights vital questions but also fosters meaningful and ongoing engagement with her subjects. Her 5 feature-length documentaries uplift and advocate for the people she features, seeking ways to maximize the social and political impact of her filmmaking. At positions including her current associate professorship at UBC, she pioneered activist research and visual methodologies that treat the individuals and communities she studies as equal participants. She is currently at work on a book about creating ethical and impactful documentary films, this follows her edited book In My Life: Stories from young activists 2002–2022, documenting 20 years of her work with South African HIV activists. She is a teacher and mentor to many, including myself, and I’m so proud to call her a collaborator and friend.
-Written by artist and musician Laurel Sprengelmeyer, aka, Little Scream
Which ’hood are you in?
I live in the West End, with beautiful views of the ocean, beach and mountains. Best place to live in Vancouver, in my humble opinion.
What do you do?
I am a filmmaker, writer and Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Theatre and Film.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently shooting a new feature film, titled “Adrianne & the Castle”. It’s a hybrid musical fairy tale documentary, following the story of love and grief around a couple who built a monumental castle dedicated to their love in rural Illinois.
I am also finishing a new book called “The Documentary Director’s Intuition: Creating Ethical and Impactful non-fiction Films” for Routledge due out later this year.
Where can we find your work?
My work lives on various platforms, including the CBC documentary channel, the National Film Board of Canada, and also streaming on Vimeo. My website has links to screen work.
My latest edited books are also available online: “In My Life: Stories of Young Activists in South Africa 2002-2022” and “Ties that Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa”