Kathryn went to the San Francisco Art Institute for a few years to study painting. Later she earned a scholarship to study film at Columbia University School of Arts, graduating in 1979. She was also a member of the British avant garde cultural group, Art and Language. Kathryn is the only child of the manager of a paint factory and a librarian.
Kathryn has directed many successful films including Point Break, K-19: The Widowmaker, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Hurt Locker, for which she won an Academy Award.