About Us

Shapeshifters Cinema is an experimental microcinema located in Oakland, CA. Our mission is to provide a venue and support for contemporary artists working with experimental and artist-made film, video, sound, music and other types of mediated performance. In addition to regular, live events, we offer workshops on experimental moving image and sound production and a storefront shop specializing in print publications, sound recordings and other artist-made media. 


Gilbert Guerrero - Co-director
Kathleen Quillian - Co-director
Ellie Vanderlip - Workshop Coordinator/Administration Assistant


The Shapeshifters Cinema Membership Program is a critical way for us to continue as a sustainable, creative, arts-focused venue in Oakland. For questions about membership, or to sign up, please contact us directly.


567 5th Street
Oakland, CA 94607

Our building is wheelchair-accessible and has one wheelchair-accessible bathroom.


Our building is temporarily closed to the public, except for special pop-up events. You will find our programming for the foreseeable future on-line.

Show Your Support

Make a donation to support Shapeshifters Cinema

Donations are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, San Francisco Cinematheque, a 501(c)3 nonprofit.


Current and Upcoming Programs & Events

CROSSROADS 2021, Program 1

CROSSROADS 2021: SF Cinematheque's 12th Annual Festival of Artist-made Film & Video
September 17-October 21, 2021

Read the full line-up of artists and details about the festival

Shapeshifters Cinema is proud to be a community partner for the opening program of CROSSROADS 2021, the 12th annual film festival presented by San Francisco Cinematheque.

Program 1: tendrils on a plane (co-sponsored by Shapeshifters Cinema) will livestream via the SF Cinematheque website on Friday, September 17, 2021 at 7PM, with live introductions by participating filmmakers before the program. The program will subsequently be available along with the other seven on-line programs in the festival (without the introductions) for “view-as-desired” viewing through October 21.

Program 1: tendrils on a plane includes: Primavera (2020) by Adrian Garcia Gomez, Pilgrimage (2020) by Anthony Buchanan, Blue Distance (2021) by Devin Jie Allen, Parenthesis (2021) by Vasilios Papaioannu, Rehearsal (2020) by Talena Sanders, June July (2021) by Kevin Jerome Everson (livestream only), life, like water, flows to greater bodies (2020) by Takahiro Suzuki, Tres bocetos de casa (2020) by Azucena Losana, a moment west (2020) by Noah Rosenberg. Find out more about this program

About Our Cinema

Our intimate, 40-seat cinema is able to host a range of performances and events by contemporary artists working in film, video, sound, music, multimedia and performance. Along with screenings and performances, you will also find workshops, salons, artist talks and lectures. Our focus is primarily on experimental and artist-made.


View Past Programs


Our venue is available to rent for private events.
More about rentals


Upcoming Workshops

soaked film workshop with greta snider

OFF LABEL! Soaked-Film Photography Workshop - SOLD OUT
Instructor: Greta Snider
Sunday, October 3 (1-4pm) and Sunday, October 17 (10am-4pm)
Day 1 we will meet virtually on Zoom / Day 2 will be in-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Masks and proof of vaccination are required for in-person attendance
$60 (includes all materials) / $45 (if you can provide your own camera)

In this two-part, hybrid (on-line and in-person) workshop, participants will learn all about the practice of soaked film or "film soup" — an alternative film developing process providing wildly unpredictable images using various found substances and consumer C-41 chemistry. Participants will shoot their own still images, either on disposable cameras (provided), or with their own cameras (film will be provided); soak their film, take notes, and then reconvene for a day of in-person sharing, developing, and digital scanning. We will close with a demonstration of how this process can be adapted for motion picture experimentation. SOLD OUT

About Our Workshops

Our workshops emphasize a DIY approach to art-making. Each one is taught by a different guest artist who shares practical, hands-on lessons in a variety of media and creative practices using materials and resources you probably already have, or are otherwise easy to acquire. Learn something new or enhance your own established art practice. Everyone is welcome!


View Past Workshops


Shapeshifters' store is now open for business (on-line only, currently)! Our store features an eclectic range of DVDs, books, CDs and other artist-made items. Browse the selection here

Browse the full selection

Suki O'Kane 2020

Suki O'Kane, August 16 2020, at Shapeshifters Cinema

John Davis 2020

John Davis, September 20, 2020, at Shapeshifters Cinema

Killer Banshee 2020

Killer Banshee, September 13, 2020, at Shapeshifters Cinema

Ether Ship 2020

Ether Ship, January 11, 2020 at Shapeshifters Cinema


Elena Pardo, December 6, 2019 at Shapeshifters Cinema


Lynne Sachs, November 10, 2019 at Shapeshifters Cinema


Minoosh Zomorodinia, October 13, 2019 at Shapeshifters Cinema


Jeremy Rourke, September 20, 2019 at Shapeshifters Cinema



Shapeshifters In the News

KQED article

In the wake of SFMOMA's announcement to cut its historically-significant and beloved film program, KQED journalist Sarah Hotchkiss wrote a great article looking at how this affects the over-all ecology of the Bay Area film culture and the film programs and microcinemas (including Shapeshifters) that continue to cultivate it. Read the article here.

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Jack London Improvement District awards funds to Shapeshifters for our merch expansion!
Due to restrictions brought on by the global pandemic and for the safety of our community, we shut down for over a year... but we did not stop! In addition to livestreaming artists' work and hosting artist-led workshops, we opened a retail shop online. We are expanding and building out a shop at our venue with the help of funds provided by the Jack London Improvement District (BID). The funds will go towards building a wall of shelves and stocking up on artists books, records, DVDS, CDs, unique works of art, and handmade goods. Check out the announcement and the full list of award winners.

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Shapeshifters receives an Oakland CARES grant!
We are very grateful to have received a grant through the Oakland CARES Fund for Artists and Arts Non-Profits, made possible by the city of Oakland Economic & Workforce Development Department, Cultural Affairs Division and administered by Center for Cultural Innovation. These funds ensure that we can continue our (modified) operations during these challenging and uncertain times.

Thank you to all of our donors & funders
We rely on individual donations to support artists and operate our cinema. We are immensely grateful for their contributions. View the list of donors

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