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Jenni Nelson

Jenni Nelson

Documentary Film and Video


Jenni Nelson Heywood is a freelance documentary filmmaker in the San Francisco Bay area, and a graduate of the MFA Documentary Film and Video Program at Stanford University. Her films investigate a range of topics, from global mental health and human rights issues, to quirky character portraits of knitters and robot inventors. She has filmed internationally working on social justice issues and is currently the Program Director for Map Your World, a multi-platform storytelling project that allows youth around the world to become change agents in their communities.
Jenni's work has been recognized in numerous film festivals including her film Love Hacking, which was a Finalist for the Student Academy Awards and won the Outstanding Documentary Award at the Angelus Student Film Festival. Her short documentary Tightly Knit premiered at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival and screened in over 100 venues across the country with Lunafest. While she is invested in social change, her work is infused with strong visual concepts drawn upon from her background as a production designer and prop master on films such as Napoleon Dynamite, and the Emmy-award winning PBS series BizKids.

Love Hacking 

hd video
JUNE, 2011
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A virtual relationship becomes a reality when a robot inventor journeys to Nepal to meet his fiancé for the first time.

Awards, Festivals, and Screenings

National Finalist - Documentary, Student Academy Awards, 2012
Finalist, Documentary, CILECT, 2010
Outstanding Documentary, Angelus Student Film Awards, 2011
FIJI Water Award for Documentary Filmmaking, Next Reel International Film Festival, 2012
Filmmaker's Audience Choice Award, Next Reel International Film Festival, 2012
Best of the Fest Selection, Palm Springs International ShortFest, 2012
Finalist - Urban TV, Spain, 2012
AFI Silverdocs Documentary Festival, 2012
Sehsuchte Film Festival, Germany, 2012
Savannah Film Festival, 2012
Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, 2012
Dallas Videofest, 2012
Palo Alto International Film Festival, 2012
Bernal Heights Outdoor Festival, San Francisco 2012
Dallas International Film Festival, 2012
Next Reel International Film Festival, 2012
Next Frame Touring Festival, 2012
AFI/Discovery Channel Silverdocs Film Festival, 2012
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2012
Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, 2012
Thin Line Film Festival, 2012
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival,  2012
Ffresh - The Student Moving Image Festival of Wales, 2012
Prescott Film Festival, 2012
Windrider Forum at Sundance, 2012
CAAM Asian Heritage Street Celebration Cinema Showcase, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, 2012
Stanford in Entertainment Film Festival, 2011
"Party on the Edge" Cantor Arts Center Screening, Stanford University, 2011

Night Awake 

16mm color film
JUNE, 2010
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Night Awake is a visceral exploration of sleep deprivation that unearths individual's sleep rituals and their struggle to fall asleep.

Awards, Festivals, and Screenings

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2011

The Gentle Sport 

16mm color film
Co-directed by John Rory Fraser
MARCH, 2010
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A visit to the Palo Alto Lawn Bowls Club, one of the largest lawn bowling clubs in the United States. The film explores a distinctly English game in an American context, and examines its appeal and its future.

Awards, Festivals, and Screenings

Winner of the US Lawn Bowls Association film competition, 2010
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2012
"Party on the Edge" Cantor Arts Center Screening, Stanford University, 2010

Tightly Knit 

16mm black and white film
Watch Video

Three passionate characters reveal the quirky and enchanting world of the contemporary knitting community.

Awards, Festivals, and Screenings

Runner-up, Best of Student Docs, Telegraph 21, 2010
Los Angeles Film Festival, 2010
Newport Beach Film Festival, 2011
Lunafest, 2010
San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, 2011
Usurp Art Gallery, London, 2010
Big Screen Project - New York City - 2010
Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema, 2010
San Francisco Film Society - Cinema By the Bay, 2010
Finalist, Urban TV Festival, Spain, 2010
Art + Invention Student Works Festival, Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCa), Stanford University, 2010
"Party on the Edge" Cantor Arts Center Screening, Stanford University, 2010
Featured on Telegraph 21



June 11, 2011

Free and open the public

June 11, 2010

Free and open to the public

March 18, 2010

Free and open to the public

December 10, 2009

Free and open to the public