Mary Helena Clark at FilmScene, Thursday, March 31 at 6pm – FREE!


Visiting from Colgate University, filmmaker Mary Helena Clark will be in town to present a program of her engrossing and enigmatic short works. Parts narrative, puzzle, avant-thriller, and nimble material play—Clark’s films present a deft sensitivity to the poetics of process, each an engrossing investigation of the illusionistic space of the cinematic screen.

Headroom Screening Series is a roving microcinema that collaborates with local venues to curate screenings and other media-related events and performances. It is always FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

With filmmaker, Mary Helena Clark, in attendance!


Mary Helena Clark lives and works in central New York. Her work has been exhibited and screened nationally and internationally, including presentations at the Swedish Film Institute (Stockholm), The Gene Siskel Film Center, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Document Space (Chicago), the Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, OH), Anthology Film Archives (New York), the Yerba Buena Center (San Francisco), the National Gallery of Art (Washington) and at the New York, London and Toronto International Film Festivals. She has curated film programs for Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco, and The Nightingale, Chicago, among other venues.


2009, 6 minutes (16mm)
Blue sky and blue sea meet on emulsion.

2011, 9 minutes (multiple digital formats)
A walk through the proscenium wings. You close your eyes and suddenly it is dark.

“In the dream we call cinema there is no either, no or. We move from cave to forest to theater and back again, certain only that we are elsewhere, at least until the reel runs out. Here is objective truth, or “hypnosis” by another name.” – Ben Russell

2008, 5 minutes (digital)
“Henry James had his figure in the carpet, Da Vinci found faces on the wall. Within this Baltimore wallpaper: a floral forest of hidden depth and concealment, the hues and fragrance of another era. Surface decoration holds permeable planes, inner passages. There emerges a hypnotic empyrean flower, a solar fossil a speaking anemone, of paper, of human muscle, of unknown origin, delivering an unreasonable message of rare tranquility.” – Mark McElhatten

2015, 5 minutes (16mm > digital)
Students of the Sanford Meisner school of acting play extremes of human feeling.

2012, 6 minutes (16mm)
“Using footage from Cocteau’s Orphée, Clark optically prints an interstitial space where the ghosts of cinema lurk beyond and within the frames.” – Andrea Picard

2012, 8 minutes (16mm > digital)
A spy film, built on the bad geometry of point-of-view shots.

2015, 9 minutes (16mm > digital)
Palms is constructed in four parts, each moving further away from a human subjectivity. Alluding to a state of disembodiment, the film’s images arrive like thoughts, encountering them as both agents of and extractions from the real world. Here our vision is monocular.

2014, 14 minutes (16mm)
An experimental detective film made in remembrance: keeping a diary, footnotes of film history, and the puzzle of depression.

What are you thinking?
I am thinking of how many times this poem
Will be repeated. How many summers
Will torture California
Until the damned maps burn
Until the mad cartographer
Falls to the ground and possesses
The sweet thick earth from which he has been hiding.
What are you thinking now?
– Jack Spicer, Psychoanalysis: An Elegy

TRT: 62 minutes
THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR SPONSORS: the Department of Cinematic Arts, the Public Digital Arts Cluster, the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio, and Little Village Magazine

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Cinematic Arts at 335-0330 or


Julie Perini at Public Space One, Friday, Feb 26 at 7pm – FREE!

Perini_Minute Movies

Visiting from Portland, Oregon, filmmaker Julie Perini will be in attendance to screen and discuss her recent experimental and documentary work! Big, big thanks to guest curator, Anna Swanson, for making this event happen with the support of the Office of Outreach & Engagement.


Originally from Poughkeepie, NY, Julie has been exploring her immediate surroundings with cameras since age 15 when she discovered a VHS camcorder in her parent’s suburban home. Her work often explores the areas between fact and fiction, staged and improvised, personal and political. Julie’s work has exhibited and screened internationally at such venues as the Centre Pompidou-Metz (France), Artists’ Television Access (San Francisco), Visible Evidence XX (Stockholm), The Horse Hospital (London), Cornell Cinema (Ithaca, NY), Microscope Gallery (New York City), among others. She has been awarded artist residencies at Yaddo, Signal Fire, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program. She has received grants and fellowships in support of her work from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, The Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon Arts Commission, and The Precipice Fund.

Her writing has been published by A.K. Press, Incite! The Journal of Experimental Media and Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts & Culture. She is a backcountry guide for Signal Fire, an organization that facilitates opportunities for artists to engage with the natural world. She holds an MFA from the University at Buffalo’s Department of Media Study and a BS from Cornell University. Perini is an Assistant Professor of Art at Portland State University.



Impressions of Portland

(2014, SD video + 16mm, 3min 19sec)
“Best Sleight of Hand in Making the Invisible Visible: This dense film operates on many levels. It is at once an essay about forgetting the past, a conceptual tour-de-force, a performance, a survey of Portland’s streets, and a vivid use of celluloid and digital imagery. But most of all it is an anguished critique of social amnesia and how blinkered perspectives can cover an ongoing injustice.” —Steve Anker, judge for the 2015 Northwest Filmmaker’s Festival at the Northwest Film Center at the Portland Art Museum, gave this film a Judge’s Award

White Lady Diaries
(2013, SD video, 5min)
WHITE LADY DIARIES brings together my research into racial identity and white privilege with my daily practice of making Minute Movies about my own life. — JP

Nebraska Diary
(2013, SD video, 3 min)
A diary film, made while in residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, Nebraska. — JP

Arresting Power: Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon
Co-directed with Jodie Darby and Erin Yanke
(2015, mixed-format video, 84min)

ARRESTING POWER documents the history of conflict between the Portland police and community members throughout the past fifty years. The film features personal stories of resistance told by victims of police misconduct, the families of people who were killed by police, and members of Portland’s reform and abolition movements. Utilizing meditative footage taken at sites of police violence, experimental filmmaking techniques, and archival newsreel, Arresting Power creates a space for understanding the impacts of police violence and imagining a world without police.
This film provides a historical and political analysis of the role of the police in contemporary society and the history of policing in the United States. It provides a framework for understanding the systems of social control in Portland with its history of exclusion laws, racial profiling, gentrification practices and policing along lines of race and class. It serves to uncover Portland’s unique history of police relations and community response.


53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival 16mm Tour – Friday, Feb 05, 7pm – FREE!

A symptom

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America, founded by George Manupelli in 1963. Internationally recognized as a premiere forum for independent filmmakers and artists, each year’s festival engages audiences with remarkable cinematic experiences.

The 16mm Tour presents 13 new films from Austria, the UK, Canada, and the United States including Things, the most recent work by Ben Rivers which received the 53rd AAFF Stan Brakhage Film At Wits End Award; The Peacock by Andrew Kim (53rd AAFF Jury Award); Mark Toscano’s The Song Remains the Same (Prix Devarti for Funniest Film); Accent Grave on Ananas (53rd AAFF Sound Design Award) by Vancouver artist Tamara Henderson (with sound by Dan Riley) and three works receiving the 53rd AAFF Best Cinematography Award – vindmøller by Margaret Rorison, A Symptom by Ben Balcom, and Blue Loop, July by Mike Gibisser. Other works include new films by Friedl vom Gröller, Mary Helena Clark, Robert Todd, Jennifer Reeves, Jonathan Schwartz, and Sarah Christman.

The screening will be held in E105, the Franklin Miller Screening Room, in the Adler Journalism Building on the University of Iowa campus.

Poetry For Sale 01


A Symptom
Ben Balcom
Milwaukee, WI | 2014 | 7 min | 16mm
The Colorlab / Niagara / ORWO Award for Best Cinematography
A mirrored discourse. The object we see is that which craves articulation, but is never said quite right. We are looking at speech from both sides of the mirror, listening to that wretch who elaborates upon the grid of desire. – BB

The Song Remains The Same
Mark Toscano
Los Angeles, CA | 2014 | 5 min | 16mm
Prix DeVarti for Funniest Film
When feelings are reduced to keywords, it’s a lot easier to find just the right soundtrack. And when an emotional response can be so readily activated via musical triggers, it’s a lot easier to make a moving film. – MT

The Dragon is the Frame
Mary Helena Clark
Berkeley, CA | 2014 | 14 min | 16mm
An experimental detective film made in remembrance: keeping a diary, footnotes of film history, and the puzzle of depression. – MHC

Poetry for Sale
Friedl vom Gröller
Vienna, Austria | 2014 | 3 min | 16mm
In Poetry for Sale, Friedl vom Gröller impressively contrasts the intimacy of the act of writing and the publicity of its presentation. The difficulty of the undertaking, selling poems in the subway, shows the difficulty of material survival for poets. The double breaking of the rules on which the film is based—both selling and filming are forbidden in the subway—exposes both poetry and filming as criminal acts, thus revealing the true status of poets and filmmakers. – Nicole Streitler

Andrew Kim
Los Angeles, CA | 2015 | 12 min | 16mm
53rd AAFF Juror Award
A meditation on our fantastic condition of mortality and impermanence… “The peacock painted on the window will never dance or speak. It is only the peacock that lived in the forest which used to speak, dance, and walk in a sweet manner.” – AK

Margaret Rorison
Baltimore, MD | 2015 | 3 min | 16mm
The Colorlab / Niagara / ORWO Award for Best Cinematography
A study of the monolithic wind turbines along the shores of Amager, Copenhagen, Denmark. Triple exposed on one roll of color film, then finding four generations of grain. The soundtrack is a recorded live-improvisation by artist Mario de Vega using unstable media and acoustic resonators. – MR

Ben Rivers
London, UK | 2014 | 21 min | 16mm
The Stan Brakhage Film at Wit’s End Award
This film was a challenge set by a friend, to make something in my home over the course of the year. Coming from a country where the seasons are very evident, I am interested in how they effect people’s sense of the world, moods, and our understanding and relationship to our environment. These mood changes feed into the film – in the Winter section the film is very internal and reflective, looking at the details around the house, and back to the things I’ve collected. In Spring, the atmosphere brightens, there are humans, hands holding a book or drawing, an eye reading. Summer is a mix of both the joy of these things, countered with a sense of unease. Autumn then becomes a further remove of representation of the space I live in, and in an uncertain state–are the walls crumbling around me? Is this the future, partly foretold in Fable, the book read in Spring? – BR

Blue Loop, July
Mike Gibisser
Iowa City, IA | 2014 | 5 min | 16mm
The Colorlab / Niagara / ORWO Award for Best Cinematography
Chicago’s summertime blazes, unanchored. Skywriting out of time. Part of a series of nighttime long exposures, Blue Loop, July creates an odd document of a long-standing celebratory tradition in one of Chicago’s lower west side neighborhoods. By leaving the camera’s shutter open for seconds at a time, the film transforms a summertime spectacle into a light-trace animation that unseats reliability of spatial and temporal direction. – MG

Robert Todd
Boston, MA | 2015 | 7 min | 16mm
Moving through fall’s end and beginning, falling. – RT

Color Neutral
Jennifer Reeves
New York, NY | 2014 | 3 min | 16mm
Anything but gray, a color explosion sparkles, bubbles, and fractures in this hand-crafted 16mm film. Reeves utilized an array of mediums and direct-on-film techniques to create this exuberant, psychedelic morsel of cinema as material. But it speaks of the end of one era or another, a time for letting go and celebration.

a certain worry
Jonathan Schwartz
Brattleboro, VT | 2014 | 3 min | 16mm
a certain worry enveloped in the covering of the ground, illuminated around a face, light on something ferocious, touch upon something gentle. -JS

Sarah J Christman
Brooklyn, NY | 2015 | 6 min | 16mm
Coda for a film stock. A cresting wave, a pregnancy in the third trimester, a tennis match in the fourth set, the cicadas’ song – a stream of precarious moments of falling action, caught before their end. – SC

Accent Grave on Ananas
Tamara Henderson (with sound by Dan Riley)
Vancouver, Canada | 2013 | 3 min | 16mm
Leon Speakers Award for Best Sound Design
“Henderson’s work emerges from dreams and the movement of their images and experiences into her waking life. In processing these subconscious traces the narratives slip through memories and clichés, desires and trauma. She persistently establishes quotidian objects as near characters before altering them in abrupt or impossible ways: a play of expectation and surprise.
The film’s succession of events is carefully planned so it can be edited in camera, captured in single shots as if experiencing the dream. In this Surrealist tradition, everyday objects are manipulated by unseen hands and the sequenced juxtaposition of these moments creates a narrative that is at once absurd and highly familiar. These sequences allude to chain reactions, operations carried out with focused concentration to meditate on the banal and uncanny with equal attention, troubling out their esoteric truths.” – Mouse Magazine

oh my gee – HEADROOM this Spring!!

We’re beside ourselves to announce (most of) the Spring lineup for HEADROOM! Check back for one possible additional show, as well as the details on each of the three exciting programs listed below!

Hope to see you at the movies real soon!


Friday, Feb 5, 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival 16mm Tour
at The Franklin Miller Screening Room, 105 Adler Journalism Building 


7285 – Sarah J Christman

Ann Arbor Film Festival director, David Dinnell, will be in attendance to introduce 13 new films from Austria, the UK, Canada, and the United States including Things, the most recent work by Ben Rivers which received the 53rd AAFF Stan Brakhage Film At Wits End Award; The Peacock by Andrew Kim (53rd AAFF Jury Award); Mark Toscano’s The Song Remains the Same (Prix Devarti for Funniest Film); Accent Grave on Ananas (53rd AAFF Sound Design Award) by Vancouver artist Tamara Henderson (with sound by Dan Riley) and three works receiving the 53rd AAFF Best Cinematography Award – vindmøller by Margaret Rorison, A Symptom by Ben Balcom, and Blue Loop, July by Mike Gibisser. Other works include new films by Friedl vom Gröller, Mary Helena Clark, Robert Todd, Jennifer Reeves, Jonathan Schwartz, and Sarah Christman.


Friday, Feb 26, Julie Perini
at Public Space One


Arresting Power – Julie Perini

Portland-based Julie Perini is an experimental and documentary filmmaker. Her work takes everyday experience as its starting point, adding critical lenses of race and gender. She will screen three short experimental works made with a Flip video camera and 16mm scratch film, and her feature-length, community-based documentary, Arresting Power: Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon (2015), made in collaboration with Jodi Darby and Erin Yanke. Arresting Power documents the history of conflict between Portland police and community members throughout the past fifty years. Julie’s work has exhibited and screened at such venues as the Centre Pompidou-Metz (France), Artists’ Television Access (San Francisco), Visible Evidence XXII (Toronto), The Horse Hospital (London), Cornell Cinema (Ithaca, NY), Microscope Gallery (New York City), the Harlem International Film Festival (New York City), among others.


Thursday, March 31, Mary Helena Clark
at FilmScene

Dragon is the Frame 01

The Dragon is the Frame – Mary Helena Clark


Mary Helena Clark will be in attendance to present a program of her work that explores narrative, figures of speech, the materiality of film, and the painting technique trompe l’oeil. She aims to make trancelike and transparent films. Amongst many other venues, Clark’s work has been screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Wexner Art Center, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.


Michael A. Morris at PS1, Sunday, Nov 15 at 7pm – FREE!

2nd Hermeneutic 1

Don’t miss the final show of the Fall 2015 program: an expanded cinematic/synaesthetic spectacle of sound and light by visiting filmmaker, Michael A. Morris!

Hybrid Cinema: Films, Videos, and Performances by Michael A. Morris


Michael A. Morris is an artist and educator based in Dallas, Texas. He works primarily with film, video, and expanded cinematic forms. Much of his recent work responds to the rapid changes in how moving images are created and experienced in the 21st century. He has performed and screened his films and videos at museums, galleries, microcinemas, and film festivals internationally, including recent events at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Vancouver, Oak Cliff Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, San Francisco Cinematheque, and the Texas Biennial. He teaches at several institutions throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area and curates film / video / new media programs around the region regularly, most recently as part of the first Dallas Medianale.


This program of works gathers together performances and single channel works in a variety of media created over the last several years. Each work, in its own way, taps into an anxiety around the dichotomy of archival and ephemeral forms of moving images. Blue Movie and I Can’t Wait To Meet You There are concerned with the mortality of the image and extend this concern to those people represented. Fires deals with the anxiety of personal stories being lost as the people and physical locations connected to them disappear. Several works combine imaging technologies to create hybrid systems. In the case of the expanded cinema works that make up The Hermeneutics series, encounters between different technologies are staged in such a way that one medium “interprets” another to produce a hybrid result in image and meaning. 16mm film, analog video, digital audio synthesis, and interactive software are each considered for their own qualities and for how they can be combined to create new instruments that are more than the sum of their parts.

Second Hermeneutic – 2x16mm projection, analog video signal as audio; 2013 – 8m

Blue Movie – 16mm, 2015 – 7m

I Can’t Wait to Meet You There – digital video, 2012 – 12m

Fires – 35mm on HD, 2013 – 14m

Third Hermeneutic – 2x16mm projection, video projection, custom software; 2014 – 11m


Vanessa Renwick at FilmScene, Saturday, October 03 at 7pm – FREE!


“Vanessa Renwick is pretty much as punk rock as they come. She’s been self-producing films and videos in her own inimitable style since the early 1980s, and now boasts a wildly eclectic DIY filmography. She can be fast and aggressive, or slow and contemplative. Sometimes she uses archival footage, but not always. The work is sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly. Without fail, however, the work is intense, hard to pin down, and even harder to forget.” – Penny Lane, Brooklyn Rail

Headroom Screening Series is thrilled to be the very first stop on Renwick’s 2015 NSEW tour!!



Founder and janitor of the Oregon Department of Kick Ass

Daughter of the American Revolution

Born 1961 in Chicago, Illinois. Film / Video / Installation artist. Lives in Portland, Oregon

An artist by nature, not by stress of research. She puts scholars to rout by embracing Nature’s teaching problems that have fretted trained minds. Working in experimental and poetic documentary forms, her iconoclastic work embodies her interest in landscape and transformation, and relationships between bodies and landscapes, and all sorts of borders. She is a naturalist, born, not made : a true barefoot, cinematic rabblerouser, of grand physique, calm pulse and a magnetism that demands the most profound attention.


a glimpse into the PROGRAM

Britton, South Dakota
(2003, 16mm to video, 9min)

Ivan Besse was the Strand movie theater manager in Britton, S. Dakota during the Depression. He had a 16mm camera and went about town shooting people at their various activities during the day. He would show the footage before features and newsreels as a way to lure the people into the theatre.

Most of the 2 1/2 hours of footage that he shot is of people walking down the street, there are also scenes of a barn being moved, a corn husking contest and kids running out of school.
The footage that really stood out to me was these 8 minutes of portraits of children. They had no idea of what a movie camera was.

The lack of narrative invites dressing these cinematic dolls with futures, now histories. The melancholic drone of the accompanying organ music tends to lead them into sad tragic finery. – VR


Portrait #2: Trojan
(2006, 35mm to video, 5min)

“The astonishing five-minute color film was shot in 35MM and transferred to video, sporting a perfectly synched musical score by Quasi’s Sam Coomes. No narrative, just a picturesque haunting reminder of our lives under the totem of a nuclear state. Long defunct, the monumental tower was imploded earlier this year and Renwick (of Oregon Department of Kick Ass) decided to capture the haunting silhouette that has simply stood there menacingly for years. She calmly documents its demise, which is very much an anti-climax. The short film adores its subject, the towering cement structure. Over a varying course of time, with lapse and stills we view a building painted in pastel light, stark at night, at dawn and dusk. Its inevitable course in its history would be told through a moment in time when it was no more. In essence, the very moment of implosion infers the ultimate destructive potential of its former chilling power. The film, shot by veteran cameraman Eric Alan Edwards (To Die ForCoplandThe Break-Up), is stunning to watch, and perfectly blunt.” – TJ Norris


Toxic Shock
(1983, 16mm to video, 3min)

Penetration up the wazoo, blood, fire, gas, needles, tampons, liquid power and cocktails of the burning sort. My experimental response to sweating out near death with Toxic Shock Syndrome. – VR


9 is a secret
(2002, 16mm film & video, 6min)

“Renwick recounts a sad time in her life, when a friend was dying and she suddenly became aware of the presence of crows. The dark birds in turn point her to the practice of counting crows, which is both a children’s rhyming game and a form of divination in which the number of crows suggests events in the future. Eight crows auger death: nine crows reference a secret. Renwick combines these fragments with glimpses of imagery- a bed, the crows captures as silhouettes, a man’s twisted body – to craft a lyrical and moving essay that works its magic through poetic accretion rather than narrative logic.” ­– Holly Willis, L.A. Weekly


(2014, HD video, 6min)

A swan song for the factory age. A vortex of swirling Vaux’s Swifts which layover for three weeks in Portland, Oregon each fall on their migration to South America. Birds swoop over our demise, their relentless choreography signaling a new start. – VR


Portrait #3: House of Sound
(2009, 35mm to video, 11min)

“Circling the empty corner where a historic Portland record store once stood among a strip of black jazz clubs, Portrait #3: House of Sound is a testimonial to a community and cultural space recently demolished. The beautiful black and white 35mm footage, subtly tinged with loneliness, both juxtaposes and compliments the rich, vibrant voices sampled from a radio broadcast tribute to the record shop. The film moves between laughter, fond memories, melancholy and finally, conviction that despite physical destruction, the House of Sound will never die.” – MIXFEST


NSEW flier

Julie Murray, Friday, September 25, 7pm – FREE!

Orchard Butterfly b&w

This hour-long program contains films that combine found and original footage to conjure strange and paradoxical universes resonant with ambiguous and lyrical meanings. Engaged as often with landscape as with the artifacts and aberrations found in contemporary image-making technologies, Julie Murray’s films synthesize personal worlds through sound and image, hypnotic in their deftly constructed atmospheres.

Her work was featured in the 2004 edition of the Whitney Biennial and her films are part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Murray has presented her work at venues including REDCAT (Los Angeles), Anthology Film Archives, Media City Film Festival, Pacific Film Archives, Los Angeles Filmforum, the San Francisco Cinematheque and Cinematheque Ontario (Toronto). Murray’s early super-8 films were selected for a National Film Preservation Foundation Award in 2014.

The screening will be held in E105, the Franklin Miller Screening Room, in the Adler Journalism Building on the University of Iowa campus.



Drawing on her background in the Fine Arts, filmmaker Julie Murray makes short experimental works in digital and film media which are poetical in nature, engaging the textural imprints and limits of the form as an essential element of pictorial content.

She has made more than twenty-five film and digital works which have been exhibited at numerous national and international venues including the New York Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the London Film Festival and the Flaherty Film Seminar.



End Reel, 2014, 7min

END REEL convolves certain aberrations in two image-making technologies; film and video, to produce a complex and largely abstract image without detaching entirely from the narrative contained in the reel.


Untitled (earth): A sketch, 2015, 1min

A numerically ordered imposition upon a landscape vast in scope, fathom and spectacle.


I Began to Wish….., 2003, 5min

The sea sucks the seed back into the ocean, the flowers fold like umbrellas, shoots recoil into hiding, in seeds that shrink.


If You Stand With Your Back to the Slowing of the Speed of Light in Water, 1997, 17min

Images from an aerial tram leaving Manhattan are followed by images of a nearly static bird, of bugs fighting, and of light bending as it passes through glass.


Orchard, 2004, 10min

Among the trees and a 19th century ruin of a walled orchard in southwest Ireland, images wind into an arrangement of continuous wandering.


Micromoth, 2000, 7min

Infinitely divisible focal planes define the topography and tilt of an insect limb, large and tortuous as a conifer, or a thorax, brown as maple syrup, all repeatedly emerging and dissolving through the bending of light as if composed of vapor.


Untitled (light), 2002, 5min

The film’s haunting images are accompanied by the continuous sound of a helicopter circling overhead, which at the close gives way to the distant sound of police sirens.


Distance, 2010, 12min

Notions of home and its ache are, to borrow a phrase, “not capable of being told unless by far-off hints and adumbrations” 1.

1Lowell, James Russell  Among my books 1870; series II, 1876


Fall 2015 Program!

Mark your calendars / Headroom is back!

We are proud to announce our Fall schedule of experimental film programs and performances! Stay tuned for more information about each!

Friday, Sept 25, 7pm, Julie Murray
at The Franklin Miller Screening Room, 105 Adler Journalism Building

Still from Julie Murray's End Reel

Julie Murray – End Reel

Visiting faculty member in the Department of Cinematic Arts, filmmaker Julie Murray will present a collection of 16mm and digital films that combine found and original footage to conjure strange and paradoxical universes resonant with ambiguous meanings.

Saturday, Oct 03, 7pm, NSEW: Films by Vanessa Renwick
at FilmScene

Image from Vanessa Renwick's Layover

Vanessa Renwick – Layover

Portland-based DIY filmmaker Vanessa Renwick, founder of the Oregon Department of Kick Ass, will visit Iowa City to screen a collection from her wildly eclectic filmography that covers a spectrum of tones, styles, and subjects that are hard to forget.

Sunday, Nov 15, 7pm, Michael A. Morris
at PS1

Still from Michael A. Morris' Second Hermeneutic

Michael A. Morris – Second Hermeneutic

Dallas-based filmmaker Mike Morris will be in town to present a light and sound spectacle of epic proportions! Creating a loop of 16mm projections and an HD video camera, Morris produces a real-time, synaesthetic cinematic experience using the artifacts of one medium interpreting another as raw material.


Headroom news


With mixed feelings I am announcing my departure from the University of Iowa and the Department of Cinematic Arts. I will be moving to Milwaukee to join the Dept. of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres.

However, Headroom Screening Series will continue under the curation of Mike Gibisser and Jason Livingston, and continue our partnerships with Public Space One, Film Scene, Department of Cinematic Arts and the Studio.

Stay tuned for fall programming!

Thank you to the Iowa City community for your support these last 2.5 years and all the artists and filmmakers who we’ve been honored to present!

All the best,


Kelly Sears at FilmScene, Thursday, March 12 at 7pm – FREE!


This hour-long program contains films that address failure – of technology, of progress, and history.  But this failure creates an opportunity to ­­reexamine and envision other speculative narratives. A former President is possessed by his nightmares, high school students are infected by a sinister force in their school’s architecture, astronauts drift away from their missions and telephone operators are built into a covert observation network.

Her work has screened at museums, galleries and film festivals, such as MOMA, The Hammer Museum, LACMA, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Machine Project, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Light Industry, Sundance Film Festival, SXSW Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival and Black Maria Film Festival. She teaches animation and film production at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Once_It Started_It_Could_Not_End_Otherwise


Kelly Sears is an experimental animator that cuts up and collages imagery from American culture and politics to intervene with the history embedded in the frame.  Working with appropriated images ranging from thrift store cast-offs to archival material, she uses animation to rebuild American histories that shift between the official and the uncanny while exploring contemporary narratives of power, such as manifest destiny, occupation and surveillance.



As you read the rest of this manual, keep in mind the need for a survival pattern.

THE DRIFT, 2007, 8:20

A mysterious disappearance on a late 1960s space journey entrances the nation. This film reexamines the nature of our country’s expansionist endeavors and the desire to push too far, too fast.

COVER ME ALPHA, 2011, 2:30

Names of maneuvers and procedures from a military yearbook re-caption the activities of soldiers in battle.


An exploration of the darker side of getting in shape. Animated instructional photographs from yoga and workout books reveal bewitched and frenzied bodies and maneuvers.

VOICE ON THE LINE, 2009, 6:45

Figures from archival films from the 1950s are recast in a large-scale secret operation that veers bizarrely off course. The film reflects on current relationships among national security, civil liberties and telephone companies.

IMPRINTED, 2011, 2:00

Clear tape, newspaper ink and sheets of acetate. Traces from the week of the failed rapture, destructive tornadoes and other discord in 2011.


Candid photos from 1970s high school yearbooks resurface in a minimalist horror story. An unknown force seeps into the walls of the school that eerily mirrors larger political and social markers of the recent past.


Excavated text fragments from a 1963 article about Robert Kennedy from a magazine are collaged with visual fragments from other popular 1963 publications.

THE RANCHER, 2012, 7:00

A parafictional newsreel chronicling a series of terrible dreams unhinges a man in power.


Images from recent hurricanes and the 1931 Miss Universe Contest are collaged into an animated séance that channels Galveston’s haunted history.


A storm transcends a meteorologist’s predictions. Commissioned for the Orbit(film) project.