Rob Nilsson

Rob Nilsson is a filmmaker, poet, and painter, best known for his feature film Northern Lights, co-directed with John Hanson and winner of the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival (1979). He also is known for directing and playing the lead role in Heat and Sunlight, produced by Steve and Hildy Burns, also featuring Consuelo Faust, Don Bajema and Ernie Fosseliius. Heat and Sunlight won the Grand Jury Prize Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival in 1988, and his 9 @ Night Film Cycle won the 2008 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Marlon Riggs Award for Courage and Vision in Cinema. Nilsson has also received Lifetime Achievement awards from the Fargo International Film Festival, the St. Louis International Film Festival, the Kansas City Filmmaker’s Jubilee, the Master's Award from the Golden Apricot Film Festival, a Filmmaker of the Year Award from the Silver Lake Film Festival, and the Milley Award from the city of Mill Valley for accomplishment in the Arts.

The 9 @ Night Film Cycle is a cinematic epic of nine feature films about 40-50 fictional characters living on the rough edges of American society. Consisting of fourteen and a half hours of film shot over the course of fourteen years, all films were produced with members of the Tenderloin Action Group (1992–97), and the Tenderloin yGroup, (1998-2009). Each film takes a unique aesthetic approach to its subject, and all nine films depict a world of the homeless, recently homeless, and inner city residents, played by workshop members, local actors and established talents such as Robert Viharo and Ron Perlman. This melting-pot of interlocking feature films was shot in diverse locations: Tenderloin hotels and alleys, East Bay homeless encampments, and hobo jungles in the Nevada desert. What Mad Pursuit (2013) a feature documentary directed by Denny Dey, is an analysis of the 9 @ Night films, showing how they weave together to form one master work.

Nilsson is also a painter and a poet whose book of poetry From a Refugee of Tristan Da Cunha is a collection of his life’s work. In 2013, he published Wild Surmise: A Dissident View, featuring his ideas and experiences in the world of art and cinema. A currently in-progress documentary directed by Michael Edo Keane follows Nilsson’s career and will document the making of his new film, Love Twice, a love story set in the Caribbean.

[bio courtesy of Wikipedia, painting by Valentin Popov] 


Recent Reviews

Winter Oranges

well written and performed, just a bit slow

Winter Oranges

Extremely pretentious.

What Happened Here?

What starts out as a most interesting trip into the youth of Leo Trotsky and to his birthplace, soon becomes a documentation not only about the Bronsteins (Trotsky's real family...

Winter Oranges

Sweet nostalgic for the trascendence spot!


Good film, interesting to watch; well done.