Ryan McKenna is a Canadian filmmaker, known for his visual comedy and deadpan humour. His feature films include The First Winter (2012), Le coeur de madame Sabali (2015), Cranks (2019), and Promenades nocturnes (2022).
McKenna studied history at the University of Winnipeg. After graduating in 2005 he became a member of the Winnipeg Film Group. During that period he was 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 ’09 and Chinatown ’09.
In 2011, McKenna traveled back to Winnipeg to shoot his micro budget feature debut The First Winter ’12 (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 ‘11 and Survival Lessons ’13. In 2014, McKenna began experimenting with incorporating archival materials into his work, which resulted in the short Controversies ’14 (MoMA, Hot Docs) and the feature Cranks ’19 (VIFF, FNC, WNDX).
McKenna directed his French language feature debut Le coeur de madame Sabali in 2015 (Palm Springs, VIFF, Thessaloniki), which was the winner of the Grand Prix at Montreal’s FNC. Le coeur de madame Sabali showcased McKenna’s deadpan humour and his ability at creating unique visual worlds. 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, and the Academy Awards long list. McKenna has recently completed his fourth feature film Promenades nocturnes, a recent winner of Montreal’s FNC’s Prix de la diffusion Québecor.
PROMENADES NOCTURNES (2022)
LE COEUR DE MADAME SABALI (2015)
THE FIRST WINTER (2012)
I USED TO LIVE THERE (2023)
FOUR-MILE CREEK (2023)
VOCES DEL SECUESTRO (2017)
SURVIVAL LESSONS (2013)
HONKY TONK BEN (2011)
BON VOYAGE (2009)
THE UNIFORM (2007)
KNIGHTS OF THE BLUE COLLAR (2006)
OPEN WINDOW (2005)