Johnny Symons is an Emmy-nominated documentary producer and director who has been creating films about LGBTQ issues for more than 25 years.  His film DADDY & PAPA (2002) was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, aired on PBS and international television, and garnered more than a dozen festival awards. His feature documentary BEYOND CONCEPTION (2006) premiered at the Florida Film Festival and aired on Discovery Health Channel. ASK NOT (2008) broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens, won the GLAAD award for Best Documentary and screened for Congress at the US Capitol. His latest film OUT RUN (2016, produced and directed with S. Leo Chiang) premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, won Best Cinematography at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and broadcast on public television in 2017. Symons’ work has screened at more than 200 international film festivals and is used by hundreds of college educators and community organizers. Symons is the co-producer of the Academy Award-nominated LONG NIGHT’S JOURNEY INTO DAY (2000), which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Sundance and broadcast on HBO. He has been a Fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, and has worked as a freelance director, producer, and cinematographer on numerous award-winning documentaries. His work has been funded by Sundance, Tribeca, Frameline, Pacific Pioneer, the Horizons Foundation, and the California Council for the Humanities, and he has produced three LGBTQ features for ITVS and one for Discovery. Symons graduated with honors from Brown University and has a master’s in documentary production from Stanford University.  Currently, he is Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Documentary Program in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University, where he directs the Queer Cinema Project. Prior to his work at SFSU, he taught documentary for 12 years in other Bay Area film programs including Stanford, University of San Francisco, and the California College of the Arts.



Next Stop: Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Tribeca Film Institute Blog

Daddy & Papa and Beyond Conception reviewed in British biomedical journal, Persistent Visions

Professor Johnny Symons’ ‘Out Run’ inspires at international film fests, SF Gate News

Directors Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons Talk Screening LGBT Doc Out Run in Boycott State North Carolina, Filmmaker Magazine

Worth It: PBS Documentary on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Newsweek

Review: 'Independent Lens: Ask Not' on KCET, LA TIMES