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Daniel Nearing

Writer-Director, 9/23 Films - Chicago​

Canadian writer-director DANIEL NEARING is a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and MacDowell, served as the inaugural Filmmaker in Residence for the City of Chicago, and was named Chicagoan of the Year for Film by the Chicago Tribune in 2017. 

Nearing's most recent film is SISTER CARRIE, a period feature shot in black and white and "ecstatic color." An epic period love story that takes place in Chicago, Montreal and Paris, SISTER CARRIE is a hybrid of three timeless literary sources, all of them proto-feminist novels from the United States and France: the landmark Chicago novel by Theodore Dreiser from which it takes its name (1900), Alexander Dumas’ fils' La Dame aux Camélias (1848), and Abbé Prévost’s Manon Lescaut (1731). Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune calls it "a cinematic riff that goes in search of everything Carrie wanted: truth, beauty, love and its own way of telling a story." Juan Carlos Ampié of The Indie calls it "a phantasmagoric cinematic exercise, combining the past with the present, art and artifice, and a wealth of timeless cultural references."


Nearing's HOGTOWN (2016) looks at the emergence of a multicultural America through the prism of Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times called it "the most original film made in Chicago about Chicago to date" (Bill Stamets). Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times named it to his list of the 10 Best Films of 2016: “Daniel Nearing has carved out an original and boldly unfashionable niche. HOGTOWN feels like a find from a forgotten archive.” The Chicago Reader named HOGTOWN the best film set in Chicago, and the best film made in Chicago, "period," for 2015 (J.R. Jones). HOGTOWN was named Best Feature Film at the 2015 International Black Film Festival (Nashville), Best Film in a Fine Arts Discipline at the 30th Black International Cinema Berlin, Best Picture at the 2015 Los Angeles Black Film Festival, and winner of the 2015 Independent Film Playoff, a consortium of seven Los Angeles festivals with over three hundred films in competition. 


Nearing's CHICAGO HEIGHTS is an adaptation of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. The "period-less" observation on exurban and small town life played at festivals around the world. Roger Ebert called it "brilliant and beautiful" and named it to his list of the Best Art Films of 2010.  

Nearing has an MA in modern and contemporary literature from the University of Toronto, received an MFA in Film from York University, and was a Producer Resident at the Canadian Film Centre. He has studied under Northrop Frye (Fearful Symmetry) and Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient). He has worked as producer, director, writer and editor for numerous films on several networks. His documentary subjects have ranged from juvenile homicide (CBC) to the longest bridge in the world over ice-forming waters (Discovery) to Russians playing in the National Hockey League (The Sports Network) and a look at the stagecraft of some of the world's finest writers (Bravo). He moved from documentaries to dramatic projects and founded 9/23 Films in 2008.

Nearing coordinates an MFA program in Independent Filmmaking at Governors State University, south of Chicago, and serves as Director of the David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts based in Fairfield, Iowa.

Photo: Dirk Fletcher

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