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


567 5th Street
Oakland, CA 94607

Shapeshifters Cinema sits on the historic territory of Huichin, the ancestral and unceded land of the Chochenyo Muwekma Ohlone, successors of the sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County.

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


Show nights only, currently. Doors open 30 minutes before showtime, unless otherwise noted. Masks are required for entry.

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

Pigment-Dispersion Syndrome (2022) by Jennifer Reeves

CROSSROADS 2022 program 6: the dark of the screen
Saturday, August 27, 2022
Grey Area Foundation, 2665 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Advance tickets available here. $12 General/$10 Cinematheque Members and members of Gray Area
Masks and proof of vaccination are required for entry

Shapeshifters is excited to be the community partner for program #6 of SF Cinematheque's annual CROSSROADS film festival. Program 6: the dark of the screen showcases alchemical ecstacies of haptic celluloidal surfaces that play and flirt teasingly with deep dives into the worlds of circuitry, electronic feedback and system noise. Direct experiences of sensual cinema give way to heavily mediated electronic meditations. Performances of electronic transgression contrast and collide with reflections on the mediation of desire and the nightmarish traumas of the contemporary surveillance state.

SCREENING: irradiance (2020) by Ramey Newell (Canada); digital video, color, sound, 3 minutes. Estuary (2021) by Ross Meckfessel (US); 16mm, color, sound, 12 minutes. death by fantasies by mirrors (2022) by Charlotte Clermont (Thiothià:ke/Montreal); digital video, color, sound, 13 minutes. Pigment-Dispersion Syndrome (2022) by Jennifer Reeves (US); digital video, color, sound, 6 minutes. Thalassophobia (2022) by Kit Young (US) & Colleen Kelly (US); video performance with live sound, color, sound, 15 minutes. Dreams Under Confinement (2020) by Christopher Harris (US); digital video, color, sound, 3 minutes. Autoimmune (2020) by Douglas McCausland (US), Ian Kirkpatrick (US) and Marcos Serafim (Brazil/US); digital video, color, sound, 13 minutes. TRT: 65 minutes

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 Workshop

found footage filmmaking with Craig Baldwin

Found Footage Filmmaking
Instructor: Craig Baldwin
Saturday, August 20, 2022
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Masks required for attendance
$45, includes materials (discount for Shapeshifters members)
Register Now

This 4-hour, one-day, in-person workshop intensive with San Francisco experimental filmmaker/curator Craig Baldwin will introduce participants into the world of hands-on, analog 16mm film editing. Students will not only get a direct, human-scale experience with celluloid, but will also come to new understandings of the sources and provenances of mid-century “orphan” material and possible Art World destinations of re-purposed and "redeemed" works. Space is limited!

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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