Owen has been Director of the Film Program at Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Syracuse, New York, since 1973 when he was hired to found the program. In 2006 he was named the Shaffer Professor of Film in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Since 1969 he has made over 32 films and a dozen videos on a wide range of subjects, all exploring the boundaries between documentary and fiction. He has received many honors and awards including the first ever Mario Dall’Argine award from the San Gio Verona Video Festival (2011), Italy. In 1976 Owen was honored by the legendary Henri Langlois with a retrospective, Homage – Owen Shapiro, at the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris. His films have been in festivals in Edinburgh, Athens, Hong Kong, Israel, England, Germany, France, Argentina, Australia, China, Italy, and throughout the USA. In 1987 he was honored with a Fulbright Fellowship to be a guest professor at Tel-Aviv University, Israel. He is co-writer of the feature, Session directed by Haim Bouzaglo and a Producer and Creative Advisor for Dani Menkin’s film, Is That You (2014).
Owen is also co-founder and Artistic Director of the Syracuse International Film Festival. In 2013, Along with the reknown Italian filmmaker Gian Vittorio Baldi, Owen created the International Filmmaking Academy in Bologna, Italy of which he is now President. In 2017 he helped establish the 250 member non-profit CNY Film Professionals whose mission is to develop a filmmaking economy in Central New York. He adapted the script from Hebrew to English with Haim Bouzago for Bouzaglo’s feature, Sessions, starring Steven Bauer and Bar Rafaeli, and was a co-producer of the film. He was creative consultant and co-producer for the award-winning film, Is That You, by Dani Menkin. In 2015 he completed the award winning experimental narrative One Block at a Time with Pedro Cuperman, and in 2017 completed the documentary Mothers. In 2020 Shapiro released his newest film, Basilio the Musical. It has since been accepted for screening in 15 world wide festivals receiving special awards in 3 of them including Best Director in the San Gio Verona Video Festival, Verona Italy.