Filmmaker | Educator | Consultant


“Dan Rybicky was one of my favorite film professors at Columbia College Chicago. He embodied the spirit of the cinematic titans whose work he loved, encouraging the class to engage in the overlapping dialogue that characterized Altman and the raw candidness apparent in every frame lensed by Cassavetes. He never hesitated in telling you exactly what he thought about your ideas, and expected you to dissect his own theories with the same frankness. This approach may have rubbed some people the wrong way, but I found it liberating. These memories came flooding back during the scene in Almost There where Rybicky rejects some of Anton’s less ambitious paintings, claiming that they “look like something you’d purchase at a thrift store.” Rybicky isn’t being mean here, he’s simply unable to feign interest in something that he doesn’t fully believe in, and when he does, he invests himself in it with ferocious passion.” - Matt Fagerholm,

“It's been dreamy working with you on the H.C. Westermann film, and you’ve been such a huge help to our process!” - Pentimenti Productions

“Dan Rybicky gathered a surprisingly convincing defense of Showgirls. Going in, he knew everyone considered the movie bad, he said, ‘whether they had seen it or not.’ His job was convincing them it ‘also explored big themes about American culture and what people are willing to do for money. The film is a visceral indictment of capitalism. But how far does that disgust with capitalism extend? That's what I had to argue. It was heavy lifting, but it was great.’” - Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune

“I feel like life is a mirror. If you share a lot, people will share back. By opening yourself up, people open up to you. I also think only through the deeply idiosyncratic could you ever hope to be universal. That is something I have to teach my students because they often try to write vague proclamations, but only by getting incredibly specific can you actually get other people to relate. That is what allows people to see their own self or story in something.” - Mas Context interview

“For better or worse, I’m a person who has always picked the scab and scratched the itch, even when I was told not to. As a kid, my family called me “the shit disturber” because I spoke out about the lies and injustices I saw to those close to me who preferred, and even demanded, silence. I’m sure I was really annoying (and probably still am), but this early quest for truth (which has evolved into more of a meditation on what truth is and isn’t) – combined with my endless curiosity about people and why and how their stories are told – first led me to pursuing a career as a playwright and screenwriter. And while I do still enjoy putting my words into other people’s mouths, I’ve become increasingly more interested in listening to non-actors speak their own words and seeing how the narrative structures and character arcs I’ve employed in my fiction apply – or don’t – to the complicated lives and surprising stories of real people. Ultimately, it is my deep love for these real (and really great) characters – especially those who are at a turning point in their lives and deeply desire something – that has made me become a documentary filmmaker.” - Spotlight on Directors interview

Speaking on a panel about documentary portraiture at the Nantucket Film Festival

Speaking on a panel about documentary portraiture at the Nantucket Film Festival

“Rybicky argues that the most honorable representation would be the most truthful. ‘My idea of love is honesty,’ he says during Almost There, which may have served as his mantra during the entire production. Just as he held himself to the same standards as his students in the classroom, Rybicky turns the camera on himself, exploring his own personal life in a subplot that initially seems like a detour, but ends up tying thematically to the central narrative in ways that are surprising, provocative and extraordinarily poignant.” - Matt Fagerholm,

Looking into Peter Anton’s bathroom in   Almost There

Looking into Peter Anton’s bathroom in Almost There

Interviewing Michael Moore at  Columbia College Chicago

Interviewing Michael Moore at Columbia College Chicago

Accepting the Audience Award on  live television in South Korea

Accepting the Audience Award on live television in South Korea

Portrait by  Almost There’s  Peter Anton

Portrait by Almost There’s Peter Anton