Daniel Nearing

  Full Professor
  708-534-4085ext. 4085
  Office Location: E2570
  Office Hours: Tue. & Wed. by Zoom appt.
  College: CAS

Independent Film and Digital Imaging - Master of Fine Arts
Art - Bachelor of Fine Art
Division of Arts and Letters



"I'm honored to teach at GSU in part because of its unique students, many of them bringing maturity, experience and profound stories to tell in the Film Arts path to the BFA in Art and in the MFA in Independent Film and Digital Imaging, the program I founded in 2006. I'm proud to be a three-time winner of Faculty Excellence Awards at our institution.

As a Professor in Film, I've undertaken a strong commitment to being a working filmmaker as well as an educator. It's been an honor to represent GSU as the inaugural Filmmaker in Residence for the City of Chicago, as one of the Chicago Tribune's Chicagoans of the Year, and as a Guggenheim Fellow.

I'm currently at work with fellow faculty and students in the making of "Sister Carrie," a transnational, bilingual, multiracial interpretation of the landmark American novel by Theodore Dreiser.

In 2015, I worked with students and fellow faculty while writing and directing "Hogtown," which was subsequently called "the most original film about Chicago made in Chicago to date" by the Chicago Sun-Times. The film is a New York Times Critics' Pick and was named to Ben Kenigsberg's (of the NYTimes) list of the Best Films of 2016. It was an honor to have material from our film requested for addition to the library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In 2010, I worked with a large team of students and faculty in making "Chicago Heights," an adaptation of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. The film was named to Roger Ebert’s last list of Best Art Films and screened around the world as well as on Netflix.

The most rewarding part of my work at GSU has come through observing the great pride and sense of accomplishment so many students have upon completing their first screenplays, their first films, or making a major creative contribution to thesis projects. Some MFA-IFDI graduates have gone on to tenure track and staff positions in academia or to better positions in secondary educational environments, and many have overseen highly regarded exhibits in digital photography, and screenings and awards in international film festivals.

I studied for my MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature at the University of Toronto, received an MFA in Film from York University, and was a Producer Resident at the Canadian Film Centre. I have worked as producer, director, writer and editor for numerous films on several networks. Prior to the dramatic work noted above, I worked as a broadcast documentary filmmaker. My documentary subjects have ranged from juvenile homicide to the longest bridge in the world over ice-forming waters to Russians playing in the National Hockey League and a look at the stagecraft of some of the world's finest writers.

I have served on the board of the Illinois Production Alliance, been an active member of the University Film and Video Association, and participated for more than a decade on GSU's Committee for Intellectual Life, which supports many community outreach activities."

- Daniel Nearing

IFDI-at-GSU Facebook Page | GSU Independent Film and Digital Imaging MFA Page




(Writer-Director-Producer)  2014

In post-production: an ambitious Chicago narrative set in 1919, shot in the contemporary city with neoclassical / renaissance motifs and an ensemble cast of multiple ethnicities.  More than 100 actors have been engaged in 60 locations.

(Director)  2011

An adaptation of the much-anthologized short story by Rudy Thauberger

Short Film Corner, Festival de Cannes 2011

North American premiere at the 2011 Vancouver International Film Festival

Chicago Heights / The Last Soul on a Summer Night
(Writer-Director)  2008-2010

An experimental interpretation of the landmark American novel, Winesburg, Ohio

Named to Roger Ebert’s list of the Best Art Films of 2010

“brilliant… a beautiful book has inspired this beautiful film.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Film of the Week – Time Out Chicago

“[They] took my favorite book of all time, which is almost universally understood to be unadaptable, and made a magnificent film out of it.” – Michael W. Phillips, Jr.

Winner, Best Film in a Fine Arts Discipline, Black International Cinema Berlin 2010

“This stunning adaptation of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio... is an aesthetic and political knockout… both profoundly affecting on its own right and as a beau ideal of detournement.” Monica Westin, Flavorpill

“poetic and haunting” – Sergio Mims, Shadow and Act: On Media of the African Diaspora

“a gorgeously photographed, beautifully scored tour de force.” – Marty Rubin, The Gene Siskel Film Center

distributed (2012) by Rogue Arts and Vanguard Cinema, now available on Netflix and through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Best Buy and many more retailers

Feature profiles in the Chicago Reader and on NPR

Official Selection, Black Harvest Film Festival 2010, both screenings sold out, invited back for a week-long run, December 2010

Official Selection, San Francisco Black Film Festival 2010

Official Selection, Montreal Black Film Festival, 2010

In Competition, Flash Forward, Pusan International Film Festival 2009

Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film and Video Festival 2009

Short version screened at the Short Film Corner, Festival de Cannes 2009  

The Rhino Brothers
(Co-Producer)  2004

An exploration of the family and social pressures faced by aspiring professional
hockey players

Canada’s first Cinealta High Definition / 24 frames per second / progressive production

Screened theatrically in Toronto, at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and
at other venues in the United States and England; sold to The Movie Network

Fortune’s Sweet Kiss
(Writer-Director)   2003

Feature-length psychological thriller starring Brooke D’Orsay, Monty Walden, Paul Soren, Lawren Campbell, Lorne Hiro, Steven White and Brandon Marsh

Aired on TMN – The Movie Network (Canada) 

Spirituality, Dreams & Nightmares
(Writer-Director)  2001

A one-hour documentary about the rising influence of CG Jung in our time

Principal photography in Einsiedeln and Zurich, Switzerland  

Literary Olympics              

(Writer-Director)   1999  

Documentary retrospective on the world’s premier authors gathering, the Toronto Festival of Authors

Featuring interviews with and on-stage appearances by Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Richard Ford, Tom Wolfe, John Irving, Alice Munro, and more of the world’s best-loved novelists and poets

Aired on Bravo  

The Island Hibernia
(Writer)   1998

Drilling for oil while fending off icebergs, 300 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland

An hour-long documentary aired on The Discovery Channel  

Bomb Tech
(Writer)   1998

Taking “the long walk” with bomb technicians as they attempt to defuse terrorist devices

An hour-long documentary aired on The Discovery Channel

Giant’s Playground
(Writer-Director-Editor)   1997                   

Documentary overview of the historic construction of the fixed link between mainland Canada and Prince Edward Island, celebrating the spirit of the Island while documenting the mammoth task of constructing the world’s longest marine-span bridge

Aired on The Discovery Channel’s Forbidden Places

Highest-rated episode of the season; “hugely popular” (network head Trina McQueen)

“Fascinating... nothing beats the awesome footage...but what gives Giant’s Playground its richness is the attention it pays to peripheral details.” Feature review, Henry Mietkiewicz, The Toronto Star

Soviet Reunion: The Russian Red Wings
(Writer-Director)   1996

A reflection on the impact of glasnost on Russian National Hockey League players, including profiles of Sergei Fedorov, Vyacheslav Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Vladimir Konstantinov, and Viacheslav Kozlov of the Detroit Red Wings Hockey Club

Aired on TSN (The Sports Network) 

Portrait of the Sportswriter Laureate
(Writer-Director)   1995

A profile of the life and work of Trent Frayne, broadcast on CBC-TV
(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).

“An adorable profile... gracefully assembled” (John Doyle, The Globe and Mail)  

The Big Train
(Writer-Director)   1994

A half-hour documentary on the life of Lionel Conacher, Canada’s Athlete of the Half-Century

Developed with the assistance of CBC-TV; contract bought out by TSN Inside Sports

Re-broadcast on The Best of TSN Inside Sports, year-end retrospective

“A... revelation to those of us who have never heard of the once-acclaimed athlete of the half-century.” (John Haslett Cuff, The Globe and Mail)

Distributed educationally by The Canadian Learning Company

Supporting interview with Peter Gzowski on CBC’s Morningside  

(Writer-Director)   1993

Drama about incest broadcast on the CBC network

“... Intelligent, emotionally complex and authentic, with more integrity than most million-dollar movies of the week” (John Haslett Cuff, The Globe and Mail)  

When Children Kill          
(Writer-Director)   1992

Documentary about juvenile homicide broadcast on CBC-TV

“Riveting... documentary of the week” (John Doyle, The Globe and Mail)

Second window with repeated airings on CBC Newsworld