Discipline: Film/Video – screenplay

Ryan McKenna

Discipline: Film/Video – screenplay
Region: Montreal, Que., CANADA
MacDowell Fellowships: 2021

Ryan McKenna is a Canadian filmmaker, known for his visual comedy and deadpan humor. His feature films include The First Winter (2012), Le coeur de madame Sabali (2015, the winner of the Grand Prix at Montreal’s FNC), and Cranks (2019), a doc-fiction hybrid that mixes archival elements in a fiction film. McKenna studied history at the University of Winnipeg. After graduating in 2005 he became a member of the Winnipeg Film Group, became a contributor to the art collective L’atelier nationale du Manitoba, and collaborated with Guy Maddin on My Winnipeg, as the rear screen projectionist and additional editor. In 2006, McKenna began working as an editor on numerous documentary television programs for CBC, APTN, Historia, and MTS. McKenna moved to Montreal in 2008, where he completed his award-winning shorts Bon Voyage (2009) and Chinatown (2009).

In 2011, McKenna traveled back to Winnipeg to shoot his micro budget feature debut The First Winter (2012, Moscow International, Raindance, IndieLisboa). During the post-production of the film, McKenna and his editor Matthew Rankin co-wrote the Winnipeg Brutalist Manifesto. From 2011-13, McKenna directed two television documentaries Honky Tonk Ben and Survival Lessons. In 2014, McKenna began experimenting with incorporating archival materials into his work, which resulted in the shorts Four-Mile Creek and Controversies (MoMA, Hot Docs).

In 2017, McKenna directed the archival documentary short Voices of Kidnapping, which won best short documentary at RVCQ and the jury prize at VIS: Vienna. It was also nominated for Best Short Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards.



Ryan McKenna worked in the Mixter studio.

Built in 1927–1930, the Florence Kilpatrick Mixter Studio was funded by its namesake and designed by the architect F. Winsor, Jr., who also designed MacDowell's original Savidge Library in 1925. Mixter Studio, solidly built of yellow and grey-hued granite, once had sweeping views of Pack Monadnock to the east. The small building was originally entered on the…

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