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New Artist Member: Jenni Olson

Posted February 6th, 2024 in Announcements, New Acquisitions, New Films, News / Events

Canyon Cinema is thrilled to welcome Jenni Olson to the collection!

Jenni Olson is a queer film historian and archivist, writer, and non-fiction filmmaker based in Berkeley, California. Her two feature-length essay films — The Joy of Life (2005) and The Royal Road (2015) — premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and, like her many short films, have screened internationally to awards and acclaim. Her work as a filmmaker and her expansive collection of LGBTQ film prints and memorabilia are part of the Harvard Film Archive (in Harvard’s Jenni Olson Queer Film Collection). Jenni’s reflection on the last 30 years of LGBT film history is featured in The Oxford Handbook of Queer Cinema (Oxford University Press, 2021). She was named to the Out MagazineOut 100 list in 2020, and in 2021 was recognized with the prestigious Special TEDDY Award at the Berlin Film Festival and honored with a retrospective of her films on the Criterion Channel. In her work championing LGBTQ cinema she has served on dozens of films as consulting producer, archival producer, advisor, and more. In her capacity as an archivist, she is co-director of The Bressan Project and serves on the advisory boards of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, Missing Movies, IndieCollect, and Canyon Cinema.  
 
Jenni is a former co-director of Frameline (the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival), the oldest and largest queer film festival on the planet, and served as director of marketing at LGBTQ film distributor Wolfe Video for more than a decade where she also created the global LGBTQ streaming VOD platform WolfeOnDemand.com. She co-founded the pioneering LGBTQ online platform, PlanetOut.com as well as the legendary Queer Brunch at Sundance. She is also the proud proprietor of Butch.org. Her 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.). A 2018 MacDowell Fellow, Jenni is now in development on her third feature-length essay film, The Quiet World, and an essayistic memoir of the same name. 

A 16mm print of Olson’s Blue Diary is now available for rent from Canyon.

Blue Diary (1997, 6 minutes, color, sound, 16mm)

Through voiceover and static San Francisco landscapes, this classic 1997 short tells the melancholy story of a butch dyke pining over a one-night stand with a straight girl. As the initial foray into 16mm urban landscape filmmaking by writer-director Jenni Olson, Blue Diary establishes many of themes that Olson would go on to explore further in her subsequent 16mm features, The Joy of Life (2005) and The Royal Road (2015).