Chris Mason Johnson

Chris is a filmmaker and teacher who has made five short films and two features - Test and The New Twenty. Both are available on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon. Test is currently distributed in North America, Europe, Australia and South America. Chris also teaches screenwriting and film production at colleges in San Francisco and New York.



Chris Mason Johnson began his career as a dancer in ballet and modern companies throughout the U.S. and Europe, including the Frankfurt Ballet and White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Since his transition to film he has worked as Head of Development at Open City Films; as Script Editor and Analyst for Miramax, Dimension, Disney, ABC Family and Fine Line; and has taught dance at UCLA as well as screenwriting and/or film production at Amherst College, Smith College, Mt. Holyoke College, Rutgers University and California College of the Arts. 

After making several short films that played at festivals nationwide, Chris co-wrote (with Ishmael Chawla), directed and produced (with Aina Abiodun) his first feature film, The New Twenty (2009), which won multiple festival awards, was purchased for broadcast by MTV Logo; for DVD/Internet by Warner Home Video, Wolfe Video and Netflix; and had a limited theatrical release to strong reviews: “A sleek and accomplished debut film. The strong ensemble of young actors create fully defined personas, thanks in large part to their director's willingness to observe the characters in private, take-a-breath moments. He’s got something, this guy.” (LA Weekly)

Chris’ second feature, Testwhich he wrote, directed, produced (with Chris Martin) and edited (with Christopher Branca) received a production grant from the the San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation and a Community Issues grant from the Horizons Foundation; premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival; won two Grand Jury Awards at Outfest Los Angeles (Narrative Feature and Screenwriting); had its European premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival (Panorama section); and was nominated in 2015 for an Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award. Test has an 89% positive score on Rotten Tomatoes and has received glowing praise from critics. Film Comment wrote: "If there was ever a contemporary film that illuminates why queer cinema still matters, this is it." 

Full reviews of Test can be found here, and for The New Twenty here

Connect with Chris: Facebook, LinkedIn


Berlin International Film Festival Interview with Chris Johnson and Scott Marlowe. Interview by Philipp Schmidt

David Perry chats with Chris Mason Johnson, director of the movie Test, set in San Francisco's AIDS era ballet world.

Podcast interviews

Interview with Chris Mason Johnson for Christian Zyp's, Moving Radio. 
Originally aired on 5/19/2015

Interview with Chris Mason Johnson for Andrea Chase's series, Behind the Scenes. Hosted and produced by Andrea Chase. 
Originally aired on 6/2/2014

Chris Mason Johnson and Scott Marlowe introduce TEST at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. Produced & Hosted by Stephen Schaefer. 
Originally aired on 2/17/2014


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