Sharon Liese is a critically acclaimed and award-winning filmmaker who produces documentary-style television programming and documentary films that air on major television networks.
Sharon most recently directed Transhood, a feature documentary filmed over five years in Kansas City. This documentary follows four kids – beginning at ages 4, 7, 12, and 15 – as they redefine “coming of age.” These kids and their families reveal intimate realities of how gender is re-shaping the family next door in a never-before-told chronicling of growing up transgender in the heartland. Transhood is slated to air on HBO in June of 2020.
Liese co-created and executive produced the original true-crime series Pink Collar Crimes. The series follows the shocking stories of country-club wives and soccer moms who commit crimes for wealth, power, or just keeping up with the Joneses. The series premiered on CBS in July 2018.
In November 2017, Liese’s Fight for the First (a short documentary following young reporters-in-training at the world’s oldest journalism school) premiered at Chuck Todd’s Meet the Press Film Festival in collaboration with the American Film Institute. Liese also directed and produced The Gnomist – a stunningly beautiful 20-minute short documentary about the power of kindness. The film had its World Premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and went on to screen at several acclaimed festivals including Hot Docs in Toronto, IFF Boston, and LA Shorts Fest where it won the Jury Award for Best Short Documentary and qualified for Oscar consideration before being acquired by CNN Films.
During the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Sharon Liese premiered her film Selfie in collaboration with Director Cynthia Wade and in partnership with Dove and the Sundance Institute. In May of 2014, the short film won a 2014 CLIO Image Award for excellence in a Mass Video or Film Campaign. The film’s moving and intimate examination of beauty, through the relationships of mothers and daughter in a small Massachusetts town, had a huge viral impact through social media; gaining more than 6 million views in fewer than two weeks.
Because of her work on Selfie, Liese was asked by “The Today Show” and the Sundance Institute to serve as a Sundance Institute Mentor to young teens making a PSA for the “Love Your Selfie” segment that premiere in April 2014.
Liese created and executive produced the unprecedented and award-winning WEtv documentary series, “High School Confidential” that followed a group of teenage girls in Overland Park, Kansas throughout their entire four-year high school experience. Liese chose a small group of Blue Valley Northwest High School students in suburban Kansas for the first four years and repeated the process again with teenage girls from Von Steuben High School in urban Chicago. The premiere of High School Confidential broke nearly every ratings record for WEtv.
Liese has also worked closely with MTV News and Docs – creating and directing three separate pilots. Most recently, Liese directed the pilot for “True Life: I’m Breaking Up With My Religion,” which aired on MTV in December of 2014. Liese’s other projects include “Sobriety High,” an intimately gritty look at at-risk teenagers at a high school for recovering addicts in Minneapolis, and “Ice Queens” – an unusual glimpse into the competitive girl’s High School Hockey team in Vermont.
In just the past 10 years, Liese has produced content for FOX, CBS, Discovery ID, Lifetime, The Oprah Winfrey Network, MTV, and PBS to name a few. Her credits include “American Grit,” “Utopia,” “Hookers: Saved on the Strip,” “The Week the Women Went,” and “Blackboard Wars.”
Liese directed the three-part Women’s Reproductive Health Special, “Birthing Pains” for KCPT-PBS that aired in January 2014 and was also the Co-EP/showrunner for the pilot of “Breaking Point” – Discovery’s documentary series about dangerous family secrets.