Feminist Film Dialogues

Gravitational Lensing: Feminist Film Dialogues is a curated 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.

Inspired by and named after the scientific phenomenon in which the gravitational pull of celestial bodies clustered together causes a curvature of spacetime strong enough to magnify distant objects, Gravitational Lensing aims to highlight and amplify the work of women, non-binary, genderqueer and trans filmmakers by the sheer magnitude of their collective creative energy when gathered together in common dialogue.

The series will be presented over the course of 12-18 months in "cycles" made up of 3-4 programs at a time, with each program organized around a specific theme, pairing films selected from our open call with other filmmakers whose work engages with similar subjects, ideas or techniques. Films in the series will touch on everything from the intersections of gender and mythology to colonial histories and everything in between.

In addition to film programs we will be offering a series of hands-on workshops led by experienced feminist filmmakers and educators addressing different aspects of personal filmmaking, including material cinema, documentary filmmaking and more. These workshops are designed for all levels of experience and are open to all.

Read the article The Fourth Wave is a Lens (which includes an interview with Amy & Kathleen) by Jadie Stillwell published in Screenslate SF, June 3, 2024.

Film Programs - Cycle 1

On the Other Side of, Mia Felic

Gravitational Lensing: Feminist Film Dialogues
Program 1: Body as Film, Film as Body
Saturday, June 8, 2024
Admission: $18

The first program of the series, Body as Film/Film as Body, will feature films that explore the connections between media and the human form. Tactile and visceral, these works push and expand the possibilities of working with celluloid and digital media to create both meaning and artifact, finding parallels between the moving image and feminist subjectivity.

Body as Film/Film as Body includes the films: China Girls (2006, 16mm to DV) by Michelle Silva, DKK (2020, 16mm to DV) by Deborah Garfinkle, Je Ne Sais Plus (2012, 16mm to DV) by Kristin Reeves, Close the Lid Gently (2013, DV) by Ariana Gerstein, Cosmetic Emergency (2005, 35mm to DV) by Martha Colburn, Wayward Emulsions (2018, 16mm to DV) by TT Takemoto, Flesh to Spirit (2019, DV) by Alima Lee, Sanctus (1990, 16mm) by Barbara Hammer, Riverbody (1970, 16mm) by Alice Anne Parker, Lumen (2019, S8 to DV) by Sarah Seené, Loretta (2003, 16mm) by Jeanne Liotta, Traces On My Body (2023, 16mm to DV) by Yue Hua, tape erotics comma sexy tender (2023, DV) by sailor dinucci-radley, On the Other Side of (2024, DV) by Mia Felic, True Story of Edges: Chapter 2 (2022, DV) by Jessica Wimbley and Light Work Mood Disorder (double projection 16mm film + sound) by Jennifer Reeves.

Promotional image from "On the Other Side of" by Mia Felic

Gravitational Lensing, Program 2

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

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)

Promotional Image from Venus in Ferns by Laura Conway



Body as Film/Film as Body - Material Cinema Workshop
Instructor: Ellie Vanderlip
Sunday, June 9, 2024
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $60
($30 for students)

Engage with film in its most tactile form in this special themed Material Cinema workshop, led by filmmaker and educator Ellie Vanderlip and presented in congruence with the program "Body as Film/Film as Body" as part of Gravitational Lensing: Feminist Film Dialogues. We will look at some of the ways artists have used film as an extension of the human form, equating the tactility of the film strip and pliability of the emulsion with that of the human body. We will then dive into the physical manipulation and re-interpretation of a special selection of body-themed celluloid via painting, scratching, boiling, hole-punching, stickering, stamping, and bleaching. Attendees will complete a minimum of one 16mm film loop to take home. All supplies will be provided. Everyone is welcome.

We have a few spaces reserved for students and folks who just can't afford the regular price. Please email us to inquire:

About the Curators

Amy Reid is a filmmaker whose work examines the intersections between gender, national identities, and labor. By exploring observational approaches and expanding upon formal cinematic notions of time, structure, and narrative, Reid’s work questions how labor is constructed in the filmic form as seen in their film Long Haulers, a 16mm and video experimental feature documentary on female truckers. They have participated in selected screenings nationally and internationally including Los Angeles Filmforum, I See Video Film Festival, Shanghai, and the Workers United Film Festival in New York. Reid received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Cooper Union before graduating with an MFA in Visual Arts from UC San Diego and is now a PhD Candidate at UC Santa Cruz in Film and Digital Media. Residencies include the Whitney Independent Study Program, Snug Harbor Artist Residency, and Seniors Partnering with the Arts Citywide Queens.

Kathleen Quillian is the Director of Programming at Shapeshifters Cinema, an experimental microcinema in Oakland she helped to co-found in 2012. Prior to that, she spent a decade working as a volunteer staff member and board member with Artists’ Television Access and San Francisco Cinematheque, respectively. She is also an artist who works primarily with found imagery, collage and stop-motion animation to explore collective and individual ways humans engage with the unknown. She has exhibited in venues and festivals internationally including International Film Festival Rotterdam, San Francisco International Film Festival, Antimatter Film Festival, Animasivo, REDCAT, the Exploratorium and Pacific Film Archive, among others.

All programming decisions for the series are made with the input and support of an international Advisory Board of seasoned feminist filmmakers and educators.

Advisory Board

Erina C Alejo
Bill Basquin
Miriam Campos-Quinn
Adrianne Finelli
Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
Irene Lusztig
Rocio Olivares
Elena Pardo
Rosario Sotelo
Anjali Sundaram
Ellie Vanderlip
Patricia Ledesma Villon
Leila Weefur

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Shapeshifters Cinema | 567 5th Street, Oakland, CA 94607