Past Workshops

Found Footage workshop with Craig Baldwin

Found Footage Filmmaking
Instructor: Craig Baldwin
Sunday, February 18, 2024
1-5pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $45

The one and only Craig Baldwin joins us at Shapeshifters for another found footage filmmaking bonanza! In this one-day workshop, participants will be introduced to the world of hands-on, analog 16mm film editing. Students will not only get a direct, human-scale experience with celluloid, but will also come to new understandings of the sources and provenances of mid-century "orphan" material and possible creative ways to assemble and share works made with re-purposed and "redeemed" material.



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Handmade Filmmaking Lab
Instructor: Alfonso Alvarez & Thad Povey
Saturday, January 13, 2024
1-5pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $45
(Discount for Shapeshifters members)

Indulge your inner Jackson Pollock and join us for an afternoon of 16mm direct animation with Alfonso Alvarez and Thad Povey. Learn to build up images on clear and black film leader using simple tools like tiny stickers, Sharpies, razor blades and dental tools - up to the point that the film will barely remain functional in an old school film projector. You’ll also have the chance to repurpose old educational films to create your own motifs never envisioned by the original production companies. All materials will be provided. This is small scale work, so appropriate motor/visual skills are required, but the workshop is crafted for both those new to these processes, as well as those who are interested in deepening their knowledge.



Cyanotype on Film @ YBCA

Cyanotype on Film
Instructor: John Davis
Sunday, December 17, 2023
11-4PM
In-person at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Led by filmmaker John Davis, this one-day workshop provides participants a comprehensive understanding of the chemistry, tools, and techniques necessary to print permanent cyanotype images on various outdated or new 16mm film stocks. Direct printing techniques will highlight the use of pre-exposed and printed film, plant materials and various objects and forms serving as "image" sources. Participants will learn about the history of cyanotype, techniques for making their own cyanotype chemistry, as well as how to source and use simple pre-made and off-the-shelf chemistry solutions. The workshop will enable participants to easily translate the process into a home lab environment, while encouraging the use of recycled or outdated film stocks, minimal photochemistry and inexpensive exposure equipment for immediate, accessible cameraless filmmaking experimentation.



Material Cinema @ YBCA

Material Cinema
Instructor: Ellie Vanderlip
Saturday, December 2, 2023
12-5PM
In-person at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
SOLD OUT!

Learn how to repurpose castaway mid-century 16mm film through scratching, painting, puncturing, boiling, bleaching, and more with filmmaker Ellie Vanderlip. Participants will review various “destructive” methods and examples and then jump into experimenting themselves, with each student creating their own sample reel of techniques to take home. Film and art materials will be provided. This workshop is crafted for both those who are new to these processes and those who are interested in deepening their knowledge.



Thingamajigs, David Samas

Make a Skatchbox
Instructor: David Samas
Saturday, November 11, 2023
3-5pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $10-20, sliding scale

Skatch is the art of rubbing shaped combs over cardboard surfaces with a variety of items affixed to it issuing a range of weird and wild sounds which defy descriptions. Skatch is freeing—an improvised music with no wrong sounds—unapologetically distanced from all notions of craft and skill. It is fun for everyone, regardless of their perceived musicianship.

Join David Samas in making these one-of-a-kind percussion instruments designed by the late Tom Nunn. David was Tom’s studio assistant for a decade and pioneered outreach and education to adults and youth through Thingamajigs, building skatchboxes with hundreds of people all over California.



Thingamajigs, Kirk Pearson

Build Your Own Synthesizer
Instructor: Kirk Pearson
Saturday, October 14, 2023
3-6pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
SOLD OUT

Ever wanted to build a synthesizer? In this beginner's workshop, organized by Thingamajigs and led by Kirk Pearson (founder and director of the Berkeley-based audio laboratory Dogbotic) participants will be led through the process step-by-step, demystifying the horrible world of electrical engineering at every turn. You'll learn how to build basic oscillators, filters, LFOs, and amplifiers, how to rig up your circuit to be light-sensitive, and oh-so-much more. Each participant will make their own working synth prototype, which we'll tune together to form a delicious sound bath. You'll then get to take your prototype home and use it to impress and irritate your friends and loved ones. All parts are included, no prior circuitry experience or musical ability needed.



Sound as Image

Sound as Image/Image as Sound - SOLD OUT
Instructor: tooth
Sunday, August 20, 2023
1-6pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema

Join us for this copious, one-day film workshop with Bay Area filmmaker and Black Hole Collective Film Lab founding member—tooth—to explore different ways of working with sound as image and image as sound. After a short lesson on the history of sound on film, participants will be led through various unorthodox techniques of photochemical and analog filmmaking including printing on the optical path of the film strip using 16mm film footage, a xerox printer, letraset, a paint brush and more. Participants will also learn how to use an Auricon camera to record sound input as both synch and non-synch soundtracks, how to use a camera and projector as a contact printer and much more (as time allows). All experiments will be hand-processed using lomo tanks which participants will also be given instruction in. All experience levels welcome! - SOLD OUT



Tint and Tone workshop with Alfonso Alvarez

Film Tinting and Toning
Instructor: Alfonso Alvarez
Saturday, July 1, 2023
12-5pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $45
(Discount for members)

Join us for an afternoon of experimental film tinting and toning basics. Filmmaker Alfonso Alvarez will talk about photochemical science and the history of tinting and toning black and white motion picture film. Participants will then spend the afternoon outside, applying tinting and toning techniques to decay, expand and mutate black and white processed film with a variety of toning solution colors. All materials will be provided. Please note this workshop involves the use of photochemicals and may not be suitable for everyone.



cyanotype film workshop

Cameraless 16mm Cyanotype Filmmaking
Instructor: John Davis
Saturday, May 27, 2023
12-4:30pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
SOLD OUT!

Led by filmmaker John Davis, this one-day workshop provides participants a comprehensive understanding of the chemistry, tools, and techniques necessary to print permanent cyanotype images on various outdated or new 16mm film stocks. Direct printing techniques will highlight the use of pre-exposed and printed film, plant materials and various objects and forms serving as "image" sources. Participants will receive information on the history of cyanotype, techniques for making their own cyanotype chemistry, as well as how to source and use simple pre-made and off-the-shelf chemistry solutions. The workshop will enable participants to easily translate the process into a home lab environment, while encouraging the use of recycled or outdated films stocks, minimal photochemistry and inexpensive exposure equipment for immediate, accessible cameraless filmmaking experimentation.



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Experimental Film Marbling & Perma-Dip Creative Film Loops - SOLD OUT!
Instructor: Lori Varga
Sunday, April 16, 2023
12-4pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $45
(Discount for Shapeshifters members)

Experimental filmmaker and expanded cinema artist Lori Varga will lead participants through the ancient Japanese craft of suminagashi—or the process of using ink and water to make liquid marble patterns—combined with low-budget household objects to be captured on 16mm film strips. These will then be dried and turned into film loops that can be used in film projects or projector performances. Participants will also have the opportunity to create single frame 35mm slides. All materials will be provided.



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16mm Film Tic Tac Toe: Performance, Collaboration, Play
Instructor: Kristin Reeves
Sunday, March 12, 2023
1-4pm
In-person at Mosswood Chapel, 3630 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
Admission: $40
(Discount for Shapeshifters members)

This workshop, led by visiting filmmaker Kristin Reeves, will give participants access to 16mm film projectors and skills to start staging expanded cinema performances of various duration and approach. It will begin with practical and inventive application of light, film loops, film cores, and the projectors themselves through hands-on activities. At the end of the workshop the group will stage a short collaborative film composition in the spirit of improvisation and play. Materials will be available for students to use found footage and simple direct film animation techniques. The workshop will support all student participants regardless of skill level.



Laundry Alley

The Devil is in the Details: Microcosmic Street Photography.
Instructor: Mark Street
Friday, February 17, 2023
1-5PM
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $40
(Discount for Shapeshifters members)

Visiting experimental documentary filmmaker Mark Street (Brooklyn, NY) will discuss looking at urban locations IN CLOSE UP and how to represent a place IN DETAIL using video in this hands-on workshop. With a glancing nod to the tradition of street photography (Dziga Vertov, Rudy Burkhardt, Helen Levitt, etc.) participants will prowl the streets around Shapeshifters looking to find beauty, truth and poetic resonance in taking the short view: a tree shadow on a bodega wall, a piece of trash floating across lanes of traffic, a wisp of an anecdote from a longtime resident. Eschewing the panoramic, we will attempt to uncover an exalted way of seeing through active and engaged observation of forgotten moments culled from the minutia of daily life. Participants are asked to bring a device capable of recording video (cell phone or DSLR) + small image (photographic still or a few minutes of video) and/or a short (2-3 minute) snippet of audio that they feel represents some aspect of their urban surroundings. We will use this material as a jumping off spot to gather more images and sounds in the neighborhood.



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Thingamajigs Instrument-building Workshop
Instructor: Flynn Cohen
Saturday, February 4, 2023
3-6pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Free admission!

East-coast Guitarist/Composer Flynn Cohen, in association with the Thingamajigs Collective, leads a workshop on building simple versions of instruments that produce natural harmonics of vibrating strings and columns of air: South African-style Umqangi mouth bows and pvc overtone flutes. Attendees can choose to build either one or both. There will be instruction in the basic playing technique and a chance to jam with others. Workshop is free of charge, sponsored by a grant from the City of Oakland. All building materials and tools will be provided.



Hand Animated Mattes, Parinella

Hand Animated Mattes
Instructor: Zack Parinella
Sunday, November 20, 2022
12-6pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $35, includes materials
(discount for members)

In this workshop participants will explore direct-to-film animation, matte making and contact printing to create unique, handmade 16mm film compositions. This workshop will consist of three parts: shooting original film on a 16mm camera, creating direct-to-film animated mattes using various materials (rubber cement, tape, stickers, etc.) and contact printing both the animated mattes and the camera footage to create a new version of the original film footage modified by the animated matte design. All materials will be provided and all skill levels are welcome!



Cheryl Leonard instruments

Found Sound Workshop
Instructor: Cheryl Leonard
Sunday, October 16, 2022
1-5pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $45
(Discount for Shapeshifters members)

Explore techniques for making and recording unusual sounds in this hands-on workshop led by composer/instrument-builder/field recordist Cheryl E. Leonard. Participants will learn about different types of microphones (including open-air, contact, underwater, and ultrasonic), and conventional and unconventional ways to use them for recording and in live performance. Together, we’ll experiment with a range of playing and miking techniques to uncover unique sounds from natural and manmade found objects, including sounds that are normally inaudible to the human ear. We’ll investigate approaches to playing materials/structures in situ, and assembling objects into “instruments.” Leonard will also share field recording tips and techniques honed from her experiences recording in wilderness areas around the world. All skill levels welcome!



35mm projection workshop

35mm Film Projection Workshop - SOLD OUT!
Instructor: Linda Izcali Scobie
Thursday, September 15th, 2022
12-4pm
In-person at Roxie Theater — 3117 16th St, San Francisco

Learn the craft of 35mm film change-over projection in this one day in-person introductory workshop with filmmaker, programmer and projectionist Linda Izcali Scobie. We will go over the history of projection in cinemas and provide you with an understanding of the role the projectionist plays in creating a proper presentation. This will be a hands-on training session focused on safety measures in the booth, how to properly handle film and prepare 35mm prints for change-over projection. You will also gain an understanding of theatrical film equipment and get experience projecting 35mm trailers on the big screen! This is an entry level workshop for beginners or anyone looking to expand their film knowledge and skills. Womxn, lgbtq+, & bipoc strongly encouraged to apply. Scholarships may be available for anyone in need. This workshop will take place in the projection booth of The Historic Roxie Theater — 3117 16th St, San Francisco, CA. Space is very limited. SOLD OUT!



found footage filmmaking with Craig Baldwin

Found Footage Filmmaking - SOLD OUT
Instructor: Craig Baldwin
Saturday, August 20, 2022
1-5PM
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Masks required for attendance

This 4-hour, one-day, in-person workshop intensive with San Francisco experimental filmmaker/curator Craig Baldwin will introduce participants into the world of hands-on, analog 16mm film editing. Students will not only get a direct, human-scale experience with celluloid, but will also come to new understandings of the sources and provenances of mid-century “orphan” material and possible Art World destinations of re-purposed and "redeemed" works. SOLD OUT



Reversing Reversal

Reversing Reversal: An Introduction to Super-8 Film - SOLD OUT
Instructor: Paddy Hay
Sunday, May 1, 2022
11am-4pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema

This one-day workshop, led by Paddy Hay, a member of the Melbourne, Australia-based Artist Film Workshop, will be geared towards anyone interested in Super-8 filmmaking, and especially for those interested in learning B&W negative processing for the first time. Participants will shoot on B&W reversal film, but process as a negative. Why B&W negative? In a nutshell, it gives greater exposure latitude (especially good for dodgy, old S-8 cameras) and a faster processing time. Also much safer...no bleach! Potassium Dichromate, the essential ingredient of B&W bleach mixture, is a highly toxic carcinogen. Various techniques for shooting film and recording sound will be discussed. The workshop aims to equip participants with a better understanding of how to approach small-gauge film ideas that might rely upon sync sound (documentary ideas, for instance). People with little or zero experience with these mediums are very welcome and encouraged to participate! Space is limited to 8 participants. SOLD OUT



Opening the Family Album Workshop with Lynne Sachs

Opening the Family Album - SOLD OUT
Instructor: Lynne Sachs
Thursday, April 7, 2022
5-7pm
(immediately preceding the screening of Lynne's documentary Film About a Father Who)
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $20
($18 for Shapeshifters and Cinematheque members)
Masks and proof of vaccination are required for attendance

Opening the Family Album is a two-hour workshop in which participants will explore the ways in which images of family members might become material for the making of a personal film. Each participant will come to the workshop with a single photograph (both in hand and digital) they want to examine. During the workshop, participants will write text in response to this image by incorporating storytelling and performance. In the process, we will discuss and challenge notions of truth-telling and language. Your final work will then be a live narration with image. This workshop is inspired by the work of Italian novelist Natalia Ginzburg, whose writing explores family relationships during the Fascist years and World War II. Ginzburg was a prescient artist who enjoyed mixing up conventional distinctions between fiction and non-fiction: “Every time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old habits as a novelist, I have felt compelled at once to destroy it. The places, events, and people are all real.” SOLD OUT



Animation workshop with Jeremy Rourke

Animation Workshop - SOLD OUT
Instructor: Jeremy Rourke
Saturday, March 12, 2022
10am-4pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Masks and proof of vaccination are required for attendance

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 pixellation of yourself, a claymation, a cut paper collage animation and a flipbook! SOLD OUT



Material Cinema Workshop with Ellie Vanderlip

Material Cinema Workshop - SOLD OUT
Instructor: Ellie Vanderlip
Sunday, December 5, 2021
11-4:30pm
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Masks and proof of vaccination are required for in-person attendance
$40 (includes materials)

Learn how to re-purpose castaway mid-century 16mm film through scratching, painting, puncturing, boiling, bleaching, and more in this hands-on material cinema bonanza with filmmaker Ellie Vanderlip. Together we will review various "destructive" methods and examples and then jump in to experimenting ourselves, with each student creating their own sample reel of techniques to take home. Film and art materials will be provided. SOLD OUT



soaked film workshop with greta snider

OFF LABEL! Soaked-Film Photography Workshop - SOLD OUT
Instructor: Greta Snider
Sunday, October 3 (1-4pm) and Sunday, October 17 (10am-4pm)
Day 1 we will meet virtually on Zoom / Day 2 will be in-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Masks and proof of vaccination are required for in-person attendance
$60 (includes all materials) / $45 (if you can provide your own camera)

In this two-part, hybrid (on-line and in-person) workshop, participants will learn all about the practice of soaked film or "film soup" — an alternative film developing process providing wildly unpredictable images using various found substances and consumer C-41 chemistry. Participants will shoot their own still images, either on disposable cameras (provided), or with their own cameras (film will be provided); soak their film, take notes, and then reconvene for a day of in-person sharing, developing, and digital scanning. We will close with a demonstration of how this process can be adapted for motion picture experimentation. SOLD OUT



found footage filmmaking with Craig Baldwin

Found Footage Filmmaking - SOLD OUT
Instructor: Craig Baldwin
Sunday, September 12, 2021
1-5PM
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Masks and proof of vaccination are required for attendance
$45, includes materials

This 4-hour, one-day, in-person workshop intensive with San Francisco experimental filmmaker/curator/cultural phenomenon Craig Baldwin will introduce participants into the world of hands-on, analog 16mm film editing. Students will not only get a direct, human-scale experience with celluloid, but will also come to new understandings of the sources and provenances of mid-century “orphan” material and possible Art World destinations of re-purposed and “redeemed“ works. SOLD OUT



experimental cyanotype workshop with Kate Lain

Experimental Cyanotypes on Fabric and Paper - SOLD OUT!
Instructor: Kate Lain
April 18th, 2021 11-1:30pm PST and April 25th, 2021 11am-1pm PST
Meeting via live video

Cyanotype is a blue-and-white photographic process dating back to the 1840s. In this at-a-distance introductory workshop, we will explore creating cyanotypes on both paper and cotton fabric using sunlight, water, plant matter, and found objects. You’ll get a kit in the mail containing pre-treated paper and fabric, along with some other goodies, and artist Kate Lain will walk you through the process of exposing and developing cyanotypes via Zoom. The emphasis of the workshop will be on experimentation and playing with materials, rather than on precision. SOLD OUT



found sound with Cheryl Leonard

Found Sound
Instructor: Cheryl Leonard
March 14th, 2021 1-4pm PST and March 21st, 2021 2-4pm PST
Meeting via live video

Explore techniques for making and recording unusual sounds in this two-day workshop led by composer/instrument-builder/field recordist Cheryl E. Leonard. On Day One participants will learn about different types of microphones, and conventional and unconventional ways to use them. Next, we’ll experiment with producing sounds from natural and manmade found objects. Together we’ll investigate a range of playing techniques, use microphones to access sounds that are normally inaudible, and consider strategies for playing materials in situ and assembling objects into “instruments.” The day concludes with a discussion of field recording tips and techniques, and a Q&A session. Participants are encouraged to continue their sonic explorations between classes and return with something to share on Day Two. We’ll also have time then to discuss specific challenges, concerns, and eureka moments that participants encountered.



collage by Faith Arazi

Cut & Paste: Collage As a Means of Experimentation & Play
Instructor: Faith Arazi
Sunday, February 7, 2021
1-4pm PST
Meeting via live video

Collage is a simple creative act that anyone can learn to do easily, and the possibilities it provides are endless! In this one-day workshop, led by Faith Arazi, participants will be introduced to a variety of tools, mediums and styles to discover and develop their own unique voice and aesthetic. Together we will: discuss various sources for finding materials; talk about design motifs and ideas in collage theory; approach digital, analog, and hybrid processes; determine applications outside the standard frame; and look at the integration of collage into different genres, including animation and found footage filmmaking; all while practicing our mantra — play, play, play!



phytogram

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.



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!



kitchen pot alchemy

Kitchen Pot Alchemy: Beer-making for Filmmakers
Instructor: Gilbert Guerrero
Saturday, November 21, 2020
1-4pm PST
Meeting via live video

In this one-day workshop, led by Shapeshifters Co-director and owner of Temescal Homebrewing Gilbert Guerrero, participants will learn how to brew a one-gallon batch of beer using simple ingredients and equipment found in their own kitchens. This workshop includes a brief discussion on the history and chemistry of beer brewing and step-by-step instructions on mashing, sparging, boiling, cooling, and pitching the yeast to make your own beer. The end product will be a seasonal beer that can either be consumed or used as an alternative film processing solution (in a second workshop: Eco-Brew, see below!).



phytogram by Greta Snider

Nontoxic Cameraless Filmmaking: Phytograms and Other Interventions
Instructor: Greta Snider
Sunday, October 25, 2020
1:00-4:00pm
Meeting via live video

In this workshop led by filmmaker and educator Greta Snider, we will 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.



Cato postcards

Art + Action Postcard Writing Happy Hour with Kristin Cato
Saturday, October 3, 2020
4:00-6:00pm
Meeting via live video

Join us for our second Art + Action Postcard Writing Happy Hour led by artist and activist Kristin Cato where we will learn a bit about the history of mail art, then apply some aesthetic efforts toward swinging and swaying voters with our own collective action!



still by Ellie Vanderlip

Virtual Material Cinema Happy Hour with Ellie Vanderlip
Saturday, September 26, 2020
3:00-6:00pm
Meeting via live video

Join filmmaker Ellie Vanderlip and Shapeshifters Cinema for a Virtual Material Cinema Happy Hour! This 3-hour workshop will cover a plethora of techniques for physically manipulating 16mm film, from bleaching to scratch animation. Attendees will be provided with a small packet of special tools and 16mm found footage clippings to play with.



Cato postcards

Art + Action Postcard Writing Happy Hour with Kristin Cato
Saturday, August 22, 2020
4:00-6:00pm
Meeting via live video

Join us for the Art + Action Postcard Writing Happy Hour led by artist and activist Kristin Cato where we will learn a bit about the history of mail art, then apply some aesthetic efforts toward swinging and swaying voters with our own collective action!



Hallucinations

Experimental Animation Workshop with Lydia Greer
August 1, 2 & 29, 2020
1:00-3:30pm, each day
Meeting via live video

This 2-day on-line workshop (with an optional 3rd day), led by experimental animator and educator Lydia Greer, is an introductory overview of experimental animation, including the history, methods, and techniques used by artists working with non-linear and experimental animation methods. Resources will be provided so that you can get started on your own research and inquiry.