Penny McCann

Ottawa media artist Penny McCann's body of work spans twenty years and encompasses both dramatic and experimental films and videos. Her narrative works (The Sisters, The Fires of Joanna, Helpless, and The Professor and the Blind Girl) involve stories from the past told in highly codified ways. Her experimental works utilize film and video imagery to create shifts in subjectivity, memory, and perspective and include Away for Christmas, Marshlands, Lake Ontario (in my head), and 02.02.02.

Penny’s work has been exhibited extensively at festivals and galleries nationally and internationally, including the Centre national d’art contemporain (Grenoble, France), Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (Oberhausen, Germany), the Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, New Brunswick), the Images Festival (Toronto), the Canadian Film Institute (Ottawa), and the Festival International du film sur l’art (Montreal).

A long-time activist/worker in the Canadian media and visual arts community, Penny served as president of the Independent Film and Video Alliance from 1996-1999. Penny lives and works in Ottawa, where, since 2004, she has worked as Director of SAW Video Media Art Centre. In 2014, in recognition of her contribution to the Ontario artist-run community, Penny was awarded the ARCCO Achievement Award.

Penny’s film work is distributed through the CFMDC in Toronto.

Artist Code: 093


The Professor and the Blind Girl

2009, 07:08 minutes, colour, English

Away for Christmas

2004, 04:15 minutes, colour, English


2003, 06:11 minutes, colour & B/W, English


2000, 06:07 minutes, Colour, English

The Sisters

1993, 17:45 minutes, Colour, English


1993, 06:48 minutes, Colour, English

Critical Writing

Curatorial Incubator v. 16: Living in Hope
by Lisa Steele. Toronto: Vtape, 2021.
Independent means: Ottawa filmmaker Penny McCann takes part in...
by McCarney Lindsay. The Coast, Mar. 27, 2008.
The Anxious Images of Deirdre Logue
by Penny McCann. Art Star 3 Video Art Biennial, 2007. Ottawa: Galerie SAW Gallery, 2007.
Women in focus for independent filmakers' meet
by Susan Walker. The Toronto Star, June 9, 1994.
Touring Women's Cinema: The films by the latest crop of Canadian...
by Noreen Golfman. Canadian Forum, Sept. 1994.