Denah A Johnston

denah A Johnston

Cinema Department Chair
Phone: (415)-452-5840
Office Hours and Current Schedule
Office: C126

Denah Johnston is a teacher, writer, award winning filmmaker, and curator working in San Francisco. Previously the Executive Director of Canyon Cinema Foundation - the West coast source for experimental film, she guided the organization to attain nonprofit status in 2014. Involved in Bay Area film and arts since 2002, Denah has worked as programmer and prescreener for the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival and San Francisco International Film Festival; organized and moderated a panel on Queer Underground Film supported by the NEA and Warhol Foundation; and presented screenings at institutions, festivals and microcinemas from San Francisco to Oaxaca, Mexico, Berlin to and St. Petersburg facilitating partnerships with local, international and national organizations to make experimental film more accessible. Denah serves as the Experimental and Fringe Film Editor for, a site dedicated to supporting women and feminist filmmakers.

Teaching film history and theory since 2008 and working in distribution at Canyon and Frameline have kept her involved in the ever-changing landscape and attitudes regarding technoloy, available materials, access and preservation of film and media.  A graduate of San Francisco Art Institue's MFA Film program, Denah received a PhD in Media & Communication from the European Graduate School followed by publishing No Future Now: A Nomadology of Resistance and Subversion (Atropos Press, 2012), which considers the core of artistic rebellion, its antecedents and descendants through post-war American avant-garde cinema and the resulting influence on punk and no wave filmmaking and music to the Cinema Of Transgression. Her most recent writing on the enduring influence and innovation of Benjamin Christensen's Haxan can be seen in Abraxas Journal Special Issue #2: Luminous Screen.  Denah current research focuses on the female filmmakers of Canyon Cinema. Denah has given a keynote address at San Francisco State University's annual Cinema Conference, gave a talk on "Collaboration and Innovation in the Cinema" at Distrital's Seminar on the Aduience of the Future in Mexico City and presented and discussed a program of films in memory of George Kuchar at the Brakhage Seminar at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Denah's films can be accessed on Fandor and through Canyon Cinema Foundation.