John Hanson (director)

John Hanson is an American movie director and cinematographer.

John Hanson, director and cinematographer.

Early lifeEdit

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota and raised in McClusky, North Dakota, John Hanson received his B.A. from Carleton College and did postgraduate studies in architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design.


He began his career in film, going on to direct the motion pictures NORTHERN LIGHTS, WILDROSE and SHIMMER and numerous film, video and television documentaries. His films have been shown at film festivals around the world, including Venice, Berlin, London, Toronto, New York, Chicago, Sundance and Cannes, where Northern Lights won the Caméra d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival for Best First Feature of 1979. In addition to many other film awards, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from Carleton College and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Northland College. He is past Chair and current board member of the Wisconsin Humanities Council. He was a founding member of Cine Manifest, a seminal independent film collective in San Franscisco and the Independent Feature Project. He lives in Bayfield, Wisconsin.



"Below the Sky Photographs of the High Plains"

The High Plains - the Dakotas, Montana, southern Saskatchewan - lie under a vast sky. Weather and wind throw cloud shadows across the landscape, a moving panorama of light, color and form. Earth meets sky at an incredibly distant horizon. Transcendent images materialize, drift away, reappear as the light shifts through the heavens. These remarkable photographs, taken over a span of thirty years, capture the magical moods and textures of a sublime, singular landscape - a rare retrospective of images taken by film director John Hanson as he rambled the back roads of the plains below the sky. With an introduction by Minnesota writer Patricia Hampl and a foreword by John Hanson.



  • Northern Lights 1978
  • Shimmer 1993
  • Wildrose 1984
  • Traveling Light 1988


  • Northern Lights 1978
  • Secrets 1971


  • Northern Lights 1978
  • Wildrose 1984 (screenplay / story)


  • Northern Lights 1978
  • Baker's Hawk 1976 (as John Stag Hanson)


  • Heat and Sunlight 1987
  • Cine Manifest (documentary) (Himself)


External linksEdit