Skip to main

Nenad Cicin-Sain

Kiss The Future

Born in former Yugoslavia, raised in delightedly ‘feral’ conditions in Croatia, fed a steady diet of Kubrick, Fellini and Antonio by his cinephile father, Nenad Cicin-Sain’s fire for art, world building, and storytelling was lit by repeated viewings of Kubrick’s 2001 and later fueled by his adventures as a rambunctious teen.   This wildly nomadic period saw books traded as currency and time spent mingling with backpackers from around the globe, delving into Dostoevsky’s “Notes from the Underground” and Seneca’s “Letters from a Stoic”, crewing sailboats for the likes of Jackie Onassis and even working as a self-taught chef.  

Early on in his professional career, Cicin-Sain was tasked with product launches for Apple alongside Steve Jobs, These high profile successes lead to an invitation to launch Tribal DDB San Francisco, with clients ranging from Nike to Pepsi to Clorox and Forbes. After a fully immersive deep dive into the ad world, Nenad needed to hit the reset button, so he did what any exhausted creative should and headed to Tahiti to surf, work on a remote pearl farm, and write his first screenplay.  

A return to the states would inspire Nenad’s foray into the art world with stunning video installations for the galleries of New York or San Francisco, acclaimed music videos and his feature directorial debut THE TIME BEING. The film stars Frank Langella, Wes Bentley, Sarah Paulson, and Corey Stoll. Making its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, THE TIME BEING showcases Nenad’s visionary style, skillfully capturing an insider’s view of the art world.  The film explores an artist’s adaptability and vulnerability, thematic threads that course through all of Cicin-Sain’s work.  

Nenad first collaborated with Oscar winning duo Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on a screenplay for the film THESE PEOPLE, a project that began as a pitch and resulted in a heated bidding war. 

This led to Cicin-Sain’s most recent work, the documentary KISS THE FUTURE, an act of rock-n-roll rebellion set against war torn Bosnia.  From shell-shocked one-handed drummers pounding out a steady beat to battered underground clubs where music fans find hope amidst air attacks, to conversations with arguably the biggest rock star on the planet doing his part to champion songs over sirens, KISS THE FUTURE captures a divided Sarajevo as the power of music provides hope to its embattled citizens.  It’s a story of resilience and light in the face of insurmountable darkness, a language that Cicin-Sain speaks fluently.  The film’s focus is on Irish rock legends U2, as well as other local musicians who use punk and rock as a weapon against war.  Working again with producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as well as Sarah Anthony, and Ned O’Hanlon, KISS THE FUTURE recently made its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.  In Nenad Cicin-Sain’s world we find our purpose through playing music, through making art, through traveling the world, by helping one another through the darkest times, and we don’t just survive, we thrive. 

Cicin-Sain and Wayfarer Studios have set their sights on Twitter’s rise and fall in THE ALGORITHM, a narrative feature set against the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection.  The film will tackle the social media role in the spread of misinformation that lead to the permanent ban on then U.S. President Donald Trump.  This behind-the-scenes look at what transpired after the capitol attack will explore the complex role of social media as arbiters of free speech during this national crisis.   

Nenad Cicin-Sain currently resides in Mill Valley, California with his wife and two children.