Charissa, (pronounced Careesa), King-O’Brien has been making nonfiction films and videos since 1999 as an independent documentary filmmaker in Boston, Chicago and now in Ithaca, NY. She received a M.F.A. in Film, Video and New Media from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Charissa’s first film, “In My Father’s Church”, (2004), is an autobiographical film which follows the story of Charissa wanting to get married to her partner Kelly in her minister father’s conservative church. It has shown at festivals and conferences internationally, screened on television in Israel, and is being distributed through Women Make Movies. Her second film, “Over the Moon”, (2010), follows the journey of Charissa and her partner Kelly attempting to get pregnant. Drawing from her background in painting and photography, Charissa interweaves hand drawn animation and poetic imagery throughout the film. “Over the Moon” premiered at the Reeling International Film Festival in Chicago where it won the Documentary Feature Honorable Mention award. “Over the Moon” has been shown in festivals worldwide and has been part of a traveling LGBT film outreach program in Latin America.
Her third film, “The Paper Mirror”, (2012), documents two well-known artists, Riva Lehrer and Alison Bechdel collaborating on a portrait. “The Paper Mirror” has toured around the country at various film festivals and is being distributed through Frameline. Charissa won three Community Arts Assistance Program grants from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council.
“Patriotic Opener”, (2017), a short film about the women’s march in NYC screened at Chicago Filmmakers. Charissa has a couple of short films in the works, including a portrait of Csatka, Hungary, “Scenes from Hyde Park, Chicago”, and a short about an elementary school in Chicago.