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

Carl Diehl, Misdirections

Carl Diehl presents Misdirections
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
8PM (doors at 7:30PM)
$12 admission (discount for Shapeshifters members)
Purchase tickets now
Masks are required for entry

Witness this veritable variety show of cine-magical feats, including Andrew Kim’s film essay on the curiously named village, Colon, MI and its claim as “the Magic Capital of the World;” Kathleen Quillian’s enchanted collage animation, The Conjuror; Kerry Laitala's phantasmagoric 16mm film Spectrology on magic lanterns and optical illusions; Stephanie Hough’s short EARTHVIEWS films which temporarily transform your personal digital device into a novel interface for seeing and knowing anew; and, from primordial depths, a media archeological fossil in the form of a kinescope film, featuring a bonafide magician circa 1950! This entourage of audiovisual delights orbits around an illuminated excursion into the life and times of the late, great magician, vaudevillian, and comedy emcee, Werner “Dorny” Dornfield (1892-1982), as presented by Portland-based, multimedia artist Carl Diehl. Diehl's presentation draws from his recent publication, Misdirections, a 68-page chapbook that delves into the life of his Great Uncle Dorny, including his association with Harry Houdini, and touches on L. Frank Baum's window-dressing trade journal, the Magic Capital of the World and the American Museum of Magic as told through a series of conversations with historians, performance artists, and magicians as well as reminiscences of Diehl's own personal experiences as an experimental artist and musician. The beguiling Jeremy Rourke will be your host for this thrilling dive into magical realms while Cindy Webster accompanies on the singing saw. Prepare to be dazzled and delighted in this one-night-only experience!

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


We are working on planning more great workshops for you. Sign up on our mailing list and be the first to know about them!

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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