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Chris Mason Johnson

Visiting Lecturer

Departmental affiliations: Art and the History of Art; Creative Writing Center; Film and Media Studies

Submitted by Chris Mason Johnson on Monday, 10/4/2010, at 8:31 PM

Before attending Amherst College as a non-traditional student, Johnson had a successful career as a dancer in major ballet and modern companies, including William Forsythe’s Frankfurt Ballet and the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. After graduating Amherst as an Independent Study Major (summa cum laude, class of ’95), Johnson worked as a Script Analyst and Editor for Miramax, Dimension, Fine Line, ABC Family and Disney, and rose to the position of Head of Development at Open City Films in New York (Three Seasons, Chuck and Buck).

Johnson made several short films before he co-wrote, directed and produced his first feature film, The New Twenty (2009), which won Best Director/First Feature at Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival, Best Screenwriting at FilmOut San Diego, Best Lead Actress at Outfest, and was Closing Night Presentation at Montreal’s prestigious image+nation Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. The New Twenty had a limited theatrical release in the U.S. (“A sleek and accomplished debut film” - Village Voice), is broadcast on MTV Logo, released on DVD by Wolfe Video, and streams on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Johnson is currently developing several feature films to direct, including Skirt, a political comedy he co-wrote with Amherst alum Kate Stayman-London, and Dance Test 85, set in the New York City dance world of 1985. Johnson is a Film Independent Fellow and was a mentor in Project:Involve. He has taught at UCLA, Rutgers University and Amherst College.