|Born||Sara Katherine Hill
March 15, 1976
Covington, Louisiana, U.S.
Katherine Brooks (born March 15, 1976) is an American film writer and director. Brooks is a member of the Directors Guild of America, a Jury Member for Samsung Fresh-Films 2007—the largest teen filmmaking program in the USA, and is the recipient of the LACE Award for Arts and Entertainment, which honors women who have made a difference in the entertainment community.
Brooks has directed prominent television shows, as well as written and directed films which received acclaim. Her film and television credits include three seasons of the Emmy Award winning show The Osbournes, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, and MTV’s groundbreaking The Real World. While associated with MTV, she helmed the network's There and Back, with Ashley Parker Angel and Tiffany Lynn, Meet the Barkers with Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, and directed and produced The Simple Life starring Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.
Brooks moved into directing feature films after receiving critical praise for her short films Finding Kate and Dear Emily. Brooks's work has been screened at over 100 festivals around the world, and she has garnered several awards, including “Emerging Filmmaker Award” at the Italian Film Festival and the “Grand Jury Prize” at the Chicago Film Festival.
Brooks's first feature film, Loving Annabelle, which Brooks wrote and directed and stars Erin Kelly, Diane Gaidry and Kevin McCarthy, debuted at the prestigious Cinequest Film Festival in 2006; the film won the Audience Award and Best Actress Award at Outfest. In addition, Loving Annabelle won Best Feature Film at Melbourne Film Festival (2006), Barcelona Film Festival (2006) and Atlanta Film Festival (2006), and the Jury Award at Paris Cinema Festival (2006); the film picked up six audience awards and four Jury Awards over the course of the six-month festival run.
Brooks wrote her second feature, the indie thriller Waking Madison, in New Orleans, a film which stars Sarah Roemer (Disturbia), Elisabeth Shue, Will Patton, Frances Conroy, and Taryn Manning. The film explores the journey of a young woman suffering from multiple personality disorder.
Brooks' latest projects include Face 2 Face, Little Monsters & 1140 Royal Street.
In 2004, Erin Kelly and Brooks made an experimental short film called Finding Kate. The short film was part of a series called Virgin Memoirs, a compilation which narrated the “first time” experiences of women.
A young Erin Kelly (Loving Annabelle) plays 17-year-old Kate at a wedding reception. When she sees Victoria (Jessica Lancaster), she quickly drops her boyfriend's hand to go and talk to her cousin. The two flirt and end up in the pool together, their eyes dancing until they begin to kiss.
“Sara is going to visit her high school friend Emily. On her journey there, she recalls her last experience with her teenage crush, remembering a letter that she wrote Emily—a letter confessing her love for her. Following a painful flashback to Emily’s mocking of Sara after she reads the note, and recalling the hurt that Emily had caused her, as Sara finally reaches her destination at the finale of this short film, she decides to keep on driving.”
“Dear Emily” was funded by EVEO.com after Brooks won a pitch contest for her feature film, Loving Annabelle. Despite being given only 6 weeks from conception to completion, and just $1,000 to make it, the film, to date, has made back over 500% of its profit.
Loving Annabelle is the controversial story of a Catholic boarding school teacher, Simone Bradley (Diane Gaidry), who has an affair with her female student, Annabelle (Erin Kelly).
Loving Annabelle was written to explore the complexity and controversy of love and struggle between two women who "have every reason to deny their feelings". Blind to the world around them, the two journey into a love affair destined to change their lives forever. Inspired by the 1931 German classic, Mädchen in Uniform, Brooks clarified:
"Loving Annabelle was a labor of love. I wrote the script while traveling the world working on reality shows to pay my bills. While crews would be off sharing a drink after wrap, I'd be huddled in my hotel corner with Cocteau Twins playing on my computer while I wrote. It took five years to put it together. It all started when I saw Erin Kelly (Annabelle) in the audience of a play I went to see. For years we worked on the character together, developing her especially for Erin to play—much of the dialogue is from us work-shopping it together. Diane Gaidry (Simone) then came on board to play opposite Erin."
"We were able to raise money for the entire production, through a collection of people which included ourselves, and set off to shoot the day after July 4th in 2005. We shot Annabelle in less than three weeks, with just twenty minutes to shoot some scenes, which for a director is frustrating. In most big budget movies, you average a page a day of script; we were shooting, on average, seven pages."
"We edited Loving Annabelle every day and night over a 12-week period. I then collaborated with the exceptionally talented music artists Aurah, who created a masterpiece of sound. We premiered at Cinequest that November, and were subsequently approached by many distributors – some much larger and more well known that Wolfe – but as filmmakers felt like Wolfe would get behind our film and give it the distribution it deserved. Many people ask me how I feel watching it now and if I'm happy with the final product. I don't know if a director is ever really happy with their work, I just know I'm proud of what we were able to achieve with so little money and so little time."
The film was summed up by Variety magazine as a "Guilty Pleasure", and has won numerous awards on the festival circuit, including the Outfest Award for Best Actress, and the Outfest Award for the Audience Choice. The film sat in the top five list of videos rented by lesbians according to Wolfe Video’s web site. It is recommended by 100% of readers on scene-OUT.com, and is ranked on the bestseller’s list in its category on Amazon.
Madison Walker (Sarah Roemer) is suffering of Dissociative Identity Disorder or multiple personality disorder. Living in New Orleans and working as a sex phone operator, Madison is doing everything she can to lead a normal life.
When a series of events leaves Madison suicidal and desperate, she locks herself away in her apartment for 30 days. Using a video camera to document herself like a visual journal, Madison clearly states on her first entry that if she does not have the answers to her questions and feels more at people with her life on the 30th day, she will kill herself.
With the help of Doctor Elizabeth Barnes (Elisabeth Shue), Madison begins to slowly piece her life together. Determined to find a cure for herself, Madison hostages herself in her apartment for 30 days and embarks on a journey to discover: what is real? The climactic twist at the end leaves audiences with the very same question. Brooks stated:
"I’m intrigued by the challenge of telling a story from the perspective of a character suffering from multiple personality disorder. Visually, Madison will take on an innovative style of mixing narrative with documentary- realism."
As part of research for the topic, Brooks locked herself up for 30 days and underwent the same process as the character Madison. This helped Brooks to visually re-create her experiences from the trial, bringing the character and the story more to life. Waking Madison was shot on location in New Orleans in Winter 2007.
Face 2 Face
Brooks recently completed a documentary with the director doing a three-month summer trip around the country, meeting 50 of her Facebook friends who said yes when she posed the question as her status, “Who would like to spend a day with me and I’ll come visit you”. The idea was born after the director had a surgery, and despite having 4700 friends on Facebook, stated that she felt alone. 
The Boys Club
The Boys Club is a yet-to-be-made feature-length film about a female jockey determined to find a path into the male-dominated sport of horse racing. The film is inspired by the autobiography, Riding for My Life. Katherine contributed the screenplay.
Brooks is an activist for equality. Along with her work within the LGBTQ community, Brooks is a spokesperson for PETA and a practicing Buddhist who travels to India every year. Brooks lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 2011 she was named one of Power Up Amazing Gays in Showbiz. Brooks has bipolar disorder.
- "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- Harvey, Dennis (2006-04-03). "Loving Annabelle Movie Review". Variety.
- Dave McNary (2007-10-16). "Roemer, Shue join 'Madison'". Variety Magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- Monika Bartyzel (2007-11-05). "Frances Conroy and Will Patton Will Also Be 'Waking Madison'". Cinematical. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- Exclusive Interview: Filmmaker Katherine Brooks. (Interview). Itsjustmovies.com. 2013-09-05. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
I don’t believe Bipolar holds me back as a person or a filmmaker. I actually believe it makes everything I do have more meaning, passion, and purpose. I’m thankful to be this way … thankful to be born Bipolar.