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. We host regular, live events, offer workshops on experimental moving image and sound production and operate a storefront shop specializing in print publications, DVDs, sound recordings and other artist-made media.

SHAPESHIFTERS BREWERY makes a variety of small-batch, seasonal, hand-crafted beers, brewed on-site in a space right behind the cinema. These are served (to 21+) at all our events as well as some off-site events. Find out more at shapeshiftersbrewery.com

SHAPESHIFTERS CAFÉ, is right next door to our cinema! We offer freshly-made salads, sandwiches, coffee, tea, pastries and more. Open M-F, 6am-3pm. Starting on Saturday, April 6, 2024, we will be open for brunch on the first Saturday of every month, from 11am-3pm. Find out more at shapeshifterscafe.com


Gilbert Guerrero - Operations Director & A/V Tech
Kathleen Quillian - Programming 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.


Our weekly Thursday Night Happy Hours have been paused indefinitely. We are currently only open when we have a scheduled event. See individual events listed below for all start times. Doors open 30 minutes before showtime, unless otherwise noted.

Show Your Support

Shapeshifters is a volunteer-run organization. Every donation we receive goes towards supporting our on-going operational costs. Donations are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, San Francisco Cinematheque, a 501(c)3 nonprofit.


Upcoming Programs & Events

Amar Lal

Amar Lal — Practicing Joy Book Release Party
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
$10 suggested donation at the door, NOTAFLOF

Join Amar Lal in celebrating the release of an art book of his "graphic scores". We will be projecting a selection of his scores, interpreted live by a stellar cast of musicians - Matt Robidoux, Zekarias Thompson, Geoff Saba and Judith Horn. Attendees will get a chance to draw their own graphic score on a transparency, projected for the musicians to play. The book, currently available (and will be available at the release party), was made in collaboration with Rachel Mendelsohn of Bad Language and features 78 full-color 9x12 pages of Lal's artwork and writings about art and creative process. Limited to 125 hand-numbered and signed copies.

Spaces of Exception

Spaces of Exception Documentary Film by Matt Peterson & Malek Rasamny
Friday, April 19, 2024
Admission: $15

Spaces of Exception is a 90-minute documentary film that investigates and juxtaposes the struggles, communities, and spaces of the American Indian reservation and the Palestinian refugee camp. The film was shot from 2014 to 2017 in Arizona, New Mexico, New York, and South Dakota, as well as in Lebanon and the West Bank. Directed by Matt Peterson and Malek Rasamny, it is an attempt to understand the significance of the land—its memory and divisions—and the conditions for life, community, and sovereignty.

Spring Happening

Shapeshifters Spring Happening
Saturday, May 4, 2024
Free admission!

SAVE THE DATE! On Saturday, May 4th, we are excited to host this one-day happening with food, drink, music, vendors and more happening all day long at Shapeshifters.

We will be serving brunch in our café, from 11am-3pm featuring house-made pastries, seasonal toasts, breakfast burritos, coffee & espresso drinks, house-blended teas and more. From 1-6pm we will continue the fun in our cinema space with tamales, house-made beer on tap and a steady stream of audio gems chosen from our collection of pop, punk, lounge and dollar bin vinyl records. There will be some great, local artists including San Francisco Cinematheque, Driveway Follies, owllamode, The Catman of West Oakland, Bright Moments, Ms. Lori's Unique Boutique and more offering up a spectrum of eclectic and one-of-a-kind wares until 6pm. Join us!

Vasquez, Keepers of the Corn

Los Guardianes del Maíz (The Keepers of Corn) - by Gustavo Vazquez
Friday, May 24, 2024
Admission: $10

Los Guardianes del Maíz is a 60-minute documentary film by Bay Area filmmaker Gustavo Vasquez that tells the story of native corn from the perspectives of indigenous farmers, artisans and cooks in Mexico whose ancestors shepherded the ever-evolving seeds from the dawn of agriculture into the 21st Century. It's a story of collective labor spanning more than 350 generations. These voices are joined by community leaders, scientists, chefs, and others whose knowledge and activism stand not only in defense of food sovereignty and the genetic integrity, diversity, and community ownership of native seeds, but in defense of a durable cultural legacy and a way of life.

Noah Teichner, The Navigators

Navigators by Noah Teichner
Sunday, June 2, 2024
Admission: $10

Navigators by Paris-based filmmaker Noah Teichner is a feature-length experimental essay film about the 1919 deportation of 249 anarchists and radicals from the United States to Russia on the Buford (nicknamed the "Soviet Ark"), the same ship that would later be used as the set of Buster Keaton's slapstick comedy The Navigator. Using archival film footage and text from the journals of the exiles (including Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman) as well as scenes from Keaton's film, Teichner teases out the many threads entangled in this multi-layered comedy of errors to weave together a new story made from the unlikely concurrance of these two narratives.

Garbage Castle, Jibz Cameron

STUDIO 8 Film Festival - Opening Night Shorts Program
Organized by the SF Artists Alumni Association
Friday, June 14, 2024
Admission: $20

The STUDIO 8 Film Festival is a 3-day event organized by the SF Artists Alumni Association to showcase the work of filmmakers who honed their craft while students at the legendary (and now-closed) San Francisco Art Institute. The opening night program features short films by Jibz Cameron aka Dynasty Handbag, Deborah Fort, Dean Snider, Minoosh Zomorodinia, Dimitra Skandali, Liz Miller Kovacs, Lynne Sachs, Mark Street, Yin-Ju Chen, Dicky Bahto, Tommy Becker, Anne Maguire and Malic Amalya.

The festival also includes screenings of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon + a Juneteenth-themed shorts program at the Balboa Theatre on Saturday, 6/15 and a Kuchar Brothers bonanza screening w/Mike Kuchar and V.Vale in person at Roxie Theatre on Sunday, 6/16. For more information about the event, visit: https://www.sfartistsalumni.org/studio8filmfestival

Gravitational Lensing is a new series dedicated to exploring the visions, voices, concerns and lineage of women, non-binary, genderqueer and trans filmmakers through public film screenings, workshops, conversations and presentations. Programming will begin in April. Stay tuned!

About Our Cinema

Our intimate, 40-seat cinema is able to host a range of presentations by contemporary artists working in film, video, sound, music, multimedia and performance. Our focus is primarily on experimental and artist-made.


Tickets for all events are available on-line pre-show as well as at the door (unless otherwise noted). Information and links are posted under each program event listing. Please note: we only honor tickets purchased directly from Shapeshifters.

Venue Specs

Find out more about our venue.


View Past Programs


We are working on scheduling 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

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



Nosh logo

Word is out! The Shapeshifters universe is expanding! In January 2023, we took over the cafe next door to our cinema and brewery. We've been slowly working on fixing it up since then to fold it into the Shapeshifters vision. In the meantime, the kitchen is in full swing! We've got all kinds of seasonal and freshly-made sandwiches and salads, locally-roasted coffee drinks, house-blended teas, pastries (made both in-house and by local phenom Firebrand Bakery) and breakfast items, including our very popular breakfast burrito. We are currently open Monday-Friday from 6am-3pm. Check out our full menu. All items are available for dine-in, take-out or delivery. You can also follow us on Instagram where we post weekly specials and other fun things @shapeshifterscafe.

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.

jlid logo

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.

city-of-oakland logo

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

Join the Mailing List


Keep In Touch

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

connect /-\ shapeshifterscinema.com