Best New Silent Filmmaker - 2009
We're still excited about Nara Denning, even though it's been months since we first saw her dense and glossy films. A finalist in SF Weekly's Masterminds contest earlier this year, she reminds us of Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin (best known for The Saddest Music in the World) for her use of the silent-film aesthetic, but Denning has her own intense, lovely vision, often mapped onto the Mission District. Black-and-white film, high-tilted angles, soft focus, and a genius ear for music characterize her work. Our favorite is Madalien the Small, which tells the dreamlike story of a tiny woman with big desires. Its visual effects are gorgeous and masterful; they look expensive, but she assures us they are not. Bizarrely, very few people have heard of Nara Denning, but we predict that will change this year.