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.


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.

Upcoming Programs & Events

Scott Stark, Damnation

Live from Shapeshifters: Scott Stark
Sunday, November 29, 2020
7pm PST
Live broadcast via our streaming channel

Scott Stark returns to Shapeshifters to perform DAMNATION (sound by John Wynne) -- new work made using sheets of ice and images from a 1960s television series to follow the tragic trajectory of the eternally damned. Viewers are invited to watch this by tuning in on November 29th at 7pm to watch the livestream.

Dokuro, In the Dust of Our Stars

Live from Shapeshifters: Dokuro
Sunday, December 6, 2020
7pm PST
Live broadcast via our streaming channel

Dokuro will perform In the Dust of the Stars, a sonic and visual meditation on the smallness of being human in the endless undulation of our universe. The video footage is meant to emulate conformal cyclic cosmology, a theory in which the universe iterates through infinite cycles, with the future time-like infinity of each previous iteration being identified with the Big Bang singularity of the next. This theory was popularized by Gilbert Penrose in his 2010 book Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe. Our dust-like footprint in the universe falls parallel with how many people are feeling these days due to COVID-19 and all of the socio-economic challenges: we are tiny and much is out of our direct control. In our current lives it seems we take one step forward with a resulting two steps backward, an endless oscillation much like the movement of the universe. However, we also see this oscillation as something unifying and magical as we are all a part of the universe's massive rhythm. Dokuro is the artistic maelstrom formed by the duo of Agnes Szelag and The Norman Conquest. Their love for song-form and noise unveils itself during their intense live performances. As they delve into layers of sound they commit themselves to the compositional surprises each one presents, reacting, and in turn creating unexpected transitions that unfold into the next exploration. These intersections and song-like clusters, along with their abstract and textural videos, create a space for listeners to dream. Viewers are invited to watch this program by tuning in on December 6th at 7pm to watch the livestream.

Holiday pop-up

Winter Solstice Pop-up
Sunday, December 20, 2020

We will be opening up the storefront for a one-day, pop-up event to mark the winter solstice and six months since our last, in-person event! Come by between 12-5pm to browse the ever-expanding inventory of eclectic, artist-made items in our shop. We have DVDs, CDs, LPs, books, journals, handmade cotton masks and more! Members are also invited to come by and pick up perks during this time (you will be receiving an email with more details about this soon). Masks are required for entry. Come by and say hi. It's been a while!


Eco Brew Workshop

Eco-Brew: Hand-Processing with Beer and Other Natural Materials
Instructors: Lisa Marr and Paolo Davanzo
Sunday, November 29, 2020
1-4pm PST
Meeting via live video

Why use toxic chemistry to develop your Super 8, 8mm, 16mm or 35mm film when you can get fantastic results with ingredients from your own garden and kitchen?

In this one-day workshop, led by Lisa Marr and Paolo Davanzo of Echo Park Film Center, participants will learn how to use beer, coffee, flowers and other organic materials to make their own eco-friendly developers for photographic and motion-picture film. A companion workshop to Kitchen Pot Alchemy: Beer-making for Filmmakers, this workshop includes a brief discussion on the history and chemistry of eco-processing, helpful hints for setting up a processing lab at home, and step-by-step instructions on your own tasty organic cinematic brews. DIY Echo Eco textbook included! Register by November 26th.


Back by popular demand!
Nontoxic Cameraless Filmmaking: Phytograms and Other Interventions
Instructor: Greta Snider
Sunday, December 6, 2020
1-4pm PST
Meeting via live video

There was so much interest in this workshop, that we are bringing it back! Filmmaker and educator Greta Snider, will lead us as we experiment with plants and other materials printed directly onto film, in a relatively uncomplicated, daylight process using nontoxic developer and fixer, 35mm film and re-usable gloves. Register by November 29th to receive materials.


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

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 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.

Summer Solstice Pop-up / Guillermo Galindo live webcast / Sunday, June 21st
We have been working behind the scenes to re-configure the model of how we plan to continue operating, given the circumstances of the current state of the world. Visit us on Sunday, June 21st for a special popup event followed by a live performance streamed online. Read the announcement

Thank you to all of our donors
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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