Discipline: Film/Video – experimental

Jenni Olson

Discipline: Film/Video – experimental
MacDowell Fellowships: 2018

Jenni Olson is an independent writer and non-fiction filmmaker based in San Francisco. Her two feature-length essay films — The Joy of Life (2005) and The Royal Road (2015) — premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and have screened internationally to awards and acclaim. Her film criticism has appeared in many publications including Filmmaker Magazine, The Advocate, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Jenni’s work as a film historian includes the Lambda Award-nominated The Queer Movie Poster Book (Chronicle Books, 2005) and her many vintage movie trailer presentations (Homo Promo, Afro Promo, etc.). Jenni co-founded the pioneering LGBT online platform, PlanetOut.com as well as the legendary Queer Brunch at Sundance and is the proud proprietor of Butch.org.

At MacDOwell in 2018, she worked simultaneously on the script of her next essay film, The Quiet World and a new essayistic memoir, Ball of Fire. She will be discussing The Quiet World at the annual Getting Real conference of the International Documentary Association in September 2018. She expected to speak about both works when delivering the Helene Keyssar Distinguished Lecture at Amherst College in April 2019.

She has been honored by the San Francisco Film Society, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Outfest, Newfest, San Francisco Film Critics Circle, and the City of San Francisco for her creative writing and innovative non-fiction storytelling. She holds a B.A. in film studies from the University of Minnesota and is currently an independent consultant. A 2018 MacDowell Fellow, Jenni is now in development on her third feature-length essay film, The Quiet World and an essayistic memoir that remains in need of a good title.



Jenni Olson worked in the Banks studio.

Banks, an ell on the north end of the Lodge dormitory, was first used as an artist’s studio in 1970. Since then, it has played host to an extraordinary list of writers working in several disciplines. In all seasons, Fellows have enjoyed the pastoral view through the French doors facing a field…

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