About Us

SHAPESHIFTERS CINEMA is an experimental microcinema located in Oakland, CA. We 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-2pm and the first Saturday of every month, 11am-3pm. Find out more at shapeshifterscafe.com


Gilbert Guerrero - Operations Director & A/V Tech
Kathleen Quillian - Programming Director
Ellie Vanderlip - Education Director

become a member

The Shapeshifters Membership program provides crucial, sustaining support for our small, DIY, volunteer-run organization. By joining the membership program, you become part of an engaged, diverse, creative community working in and around experimental moving image, sound and time-based art. Each level offers a range of access to members-only resources and events, discounts, comps and more. Find out more and join now!


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

Gravitational Lensing, Program 2

Gravitational Lensing: Feminist Film Dialogues
Program 2: Self as Social Construct
Saturday, July 20, 2024
Admission: $18

Gravitational Lensing: Feminist Film Dialogues is a film series curated and organized by Amy Reid and Kathleen Quillian with the help of an international advisory board. The series is 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.

The second program, Self as Social Construct, features films that explore the myriad ways that identity is constructed, both overtly and indirectly, by the network of forces that act upon us, and how these manifest in the presentation of ourselves as social beings moving through a complex world.

Program 2: Self as Social Construct includes: Softer by Ayanna Dozier (2020, 16mm to DV), Trans by Sophie Constantinou (1994, 16mm film to DV), Reinventing the Wheel by Elena Knox (2014, DV), Free, White and 21 by Howardena Pindell (1980, SV to DV), Forward Fast by Lorraine Sovern (2022, DV), Picturing Oriental Girls: A (Re) Educational Videotape by Valerie Soe (1992, SV to DV), Venus in Ferns by Laura Conway (2023, 16mm film to DV), Fragile by Sasha Waters (2022, 16mm film to DV), Matchbox by Jennifer Cabral (2023, DV), Mirror, Mirror by Jan Krawitz (1990, 16mm to DV), Flower Eater by Heather Brown (2023, 16mm to DV), Beauties by Lisa Marr (2017, DV) and Women by Connie Beeson (1974, 16mm to DV)

Learn more about the Gravitational Lensing series.

Promotional Image from Venus in Ferns by Laura Conway

Do Over Music

Do-Over Music Series - Beth Schenck Quintet & DYMAXION
Every First Thursday
Next program: Thursday, August 1, 2024
Admission: $10

The monthly Do-Over Music Series at Shapeshifters Cinema has a new format! The first set is a concert of creative - improvised - composed - electronic - acoustic - music, presented by local luminaries and special guests. The second set opens up to a live improvised collaboration of sound and visuals, with film and images curated and performed by our Shapeshifters hosts

Set 1: 7pm
Beth Schenck Quintet

A wildly creative and original musical voice, SF saxophonist and composer Beth Schenck writes bracing music that blends lush harmonies with fierce propulsiveness and surprising rhythmic twists and turns. Her quintet features some of the Bay Area’s most adventurous improvisers, supporting her compositions which have been praised as “frank and beautiful” (MetalJazz.com) and “reliably enthralling” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Beth Schenck - alto saxophone
Cory Wright - tenor saxophone and bass clarinet
Matt Wrobel - guitar
Lisa Mezzacappa - bass
Jordan Glenn - drums

Set 2: 8pm
Improvised music by DYMAXION + expanded film:

A new trio led by ROVA saxophonist Bruce Ackley! With fun films and quirky found footage screened by our Shapeshifters hosts.

Bruce Ackley - soprano sax and clarinet
Pete Schmitt - bass
Dave Brandt - percussion

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



Intro to Animation
Instructor: Jeremy Rourke
Sunday, July 14, 2024
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $75
(Discount for Shapeshifters members)

Join us for a one-day, introductory animation workshop bonanza with the multi-dimensional artist and animator, Jeremy Rourke. By the end of this 6-hour session he promises that you will leave with a pixillation of yourself, a claymation, a cut paper collage animation, a flipbook and maybe most importantly, a deeper understanding of time. Participants will need to bring an iphone, ipad or computer (with the Stop Motion Studio app on it) and a tripod or clamp to secure the recording device.

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-2pm. 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.

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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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