Shawna Baca's introduction to filmmaking was at the age of six when John Cassavettes rented her uncle's house to make, "A Killing of a Chinese Bookie." Four years later, her uncle lost her at the wrap party for "One From the Heart," where she met Francis Ford Coppola. He asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said "You." After producing and performing in numerous theatre productions as a young adult, Shawna knew it was time to branch out into film. But she found most scripts she read were missing the substance of characters she had experienced in theatre. In her typical style, she set out to write her own scripts with a focus on capturing real stories about real women.
Her first screenplay, "Impersonal Impression," about a rape victim and her unusual hero won the 2002 Slamdance Anarchy Competition. Her 2003 directorial debut, "Rose's Garden," followed garnering Best Film and Best Actress (Tippi Hedren) at the LATV Short Film Festival, Audience Choice Award at Frontier Airlines Cloud 9 Festival and Cinema du Festival de Paris. Shawna wrote and directed "3:52," starring "Ugly Betty's" America Ferrera, about a young woman's quest to face her inner demons. The film won the Audience Choice Award at the 2006 San Diego Women's Film Festival, BEST OF NALIP 2006, and a 2007 Tabloid Witch Award.
Shawna was selected by Steven Spielberg from more than 12,000 filmmakers to be part of his 2007 FOX reality show, "ON THE LOT" on the basis of her short film "Isabel," which was shot in one week. "Isabel" has since won Best Screenplay at the 2007 BHLIFE Festival, Best Film (Jury) at the 2008 Corti Di Donne Film Festival (Italy), and an Honorable Mention at the 2008 Santa Fe Metaphysical Film Festival.
In 2008, Shawna received a "Mujeres Destacadas" award by La Opinion Newspaper and the City of Los Angeles for her contribution as a filmmaker to the Latin Community. She was also honored at the 2008 Latina Symposium (Washington D.C.) with an award and recognition for being a "Latina Entrepreneur," and given a scholarship to the prestigious Tuck School of Business Executive Education Program at Dartmouth University by Latina Style Magazine. In addition, Shawna won the 2008 PLIE (Professional Latinos in Entertainment) New Media Director Award, where she caught the attention of Anheuser Busch which led her to do a series of New Media spots for LatinoBud.com.
She is a third generation American of Latin/Native American decent. She was named after Shawnawa, an Apache medicine woman who healed her great-great grandmother from an illness. When Shawna developed agoraphobia as a teenager, she was cured in a sweat lodge ceremony by a medicine man from the Pala Reservation. This led to several years of avid Shaman studies and her participation in many ceremonies on the Pala and Navajo Reservations. Shawna has long been fascinated with magical realism, the supernatural and exploring the unknown.