In filmmaking, the phrase “head room” refers to the composition of a shot; to have too much “head room” is to leave too much space between the subject’s head and the top of the frame. Borrowing this phrase, Headroom Screening Series seeks to engage the “space above one’s head” by expanding the involvement of the Iowa City public audience with experimental forms of cinema and new media while also redefining contemporary cinematic and media-related experiences. Headroom Screening Series is a roving microcinema that collaborates with local venues to curate screenings and other media-related events and performances. Since Spring 2013, there have been twelve curated programs, including visiting artists and guest curators.
Headroom Screening Series was started in Spring 2013 by Jesse McLean, who departed in Summer 2015. It is currently programmed by Mike Gibisser and Jason Livingston.
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Mike Gibisser is a filmmaker and artist interested in navigating the indefinite lines between essay, narrative, experimental, and documentary work, often drawing together disparate subjects or time periods. He has presented work at numerous galleries and festivals around the world, including the International Oberhausen Film Festival, the Harvard Film Archive, Tony Wight Gallery, Block Cinema, the AFI Film Festival, the Images Film Festival, Sundance, the European Media Arts Festival, threewalls gallery, and Views from the Avant Garde in the New York Film Festival. His work has been featured in Artforum, Variety, and Cinemascope, amongst other publications.
Jason Livingston is a film and video maker from Upstate New York. His work has been programmed at many festivals and venues, including the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, the Austrian Film Museum, the Margaret Mead Film Festival, Ann Arbor and more. Under Foot & Overstory, winner of a Jury Prize from the New York Underground Film Festival, can be rented from the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre. The Two Boys earned a Special Director’s Prize for Poet of the Cinema at the late, great Cinematexas. Some of his recent video work can be seen as part of ETC: Experimental Television Center 1969-2009, a 5-DVD Anthology distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix. He is a recipient of a New York State Council of the Arts Individual Artist Grant for his work-in-progress, INTERSTATE, a long-form video essay about video collectives, the Socialist Workers Party, the Onondaga Nation, family history, political economy and disco. In addition to making moving images, he has worked in film exhibition, most notably with THAW in the late 1990s and with the legendary Cornell Cinema from 2002 – 2004. He occasionally writes about cinema for such publications as Afterimage and The Brooklyn Rail.