CROSSROADS 2023 will be held September 8–10 at Gray Area.
Festival line-up to be announced early August.

CROSSROADS push[es] together the outer limits of narrative logic, experimental abstraction, and documentary… an essential festival for contemporary moving-image art.James Hansen, The Brooklyn Rail

San Francisco’s hub for experimental film, media, and performance…
David Hudson, Criterion

…one of North America’s major showcases for avant-garde and experimental film, video and multimedia work.
— Michael Sicinski, UZAK 27

Founded by filmmaker Bruce Baillie in 1961, San Francisco Cinematheque is the Bay Area’s premier venue for avant-garde/experimental, underground and personally expressive film, video and performance work. In its dedication to exhibiting works of aesthetically radical cinema from all historical eras and geo-political locales, Cinematheque cultivates the international field of artist-made cinema, inspiring aesthetic dialog and critical discourse and encouraging appreciation across the broader cultural landscape.

Inaugurated in 2010, CROSSROADS is San Francisco Cinematheque’s annual film festival, dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary avant-garde film, video and performance work. Artists featured in previous years have included Malic Amalya, Ephraim Asili, Stephanie Barber, Alix Blevins, Stephen Broomer, Peter Burr, Emily Chao, Paul Clipson, Charlotte Clermont, Colectivo Los ingrávidos, Nathaniel Dorsky, Carl Elsaesser, Erin Espelie, Kevin Jerome Everson, Adrian Garcia Gomez, Friedl vom Gröller, Karissa Hahn, Christopher Harris, Mike Hoolboom, Sky Hopinka, Kerry Laitala, Alexandre Larose, Laida Lertxundi, Saul Levine, Jeanne Liotta, Cherlyn Hsing-Hsin Liu, Simon Liu, Azucena Losana, Jodie Mack, J.M. Martínez, Jesse McLean, Cristiana Miranda, Michael A. Morris, Jeremy Moss, OJOBOCA, Alee Peoples, Charlotte Pryce, Michael Robinson, Lynne Sachs, Daïchi Saïto, Rajee Samarasinghe, Talena Sanders, Tulapop Saenjaroen, Scott Stark, Jamilah Sabur, Jonathan Schwartz, Cauleen Smith, Rhea Storr, Deborah Stratman, Makino Takashi,  Paige Taul, Erin Weisgerber, Kit Young and Antoinette Zwirchmayr.

CROSSROADS is curated annually by Cinematheque’s Artistic Director Steve Polta.
A history of CROSSROADS (including past line-ups) is available here.

Cinematheque seeks submissions of recent films, videos and works of performance cinema for CROSSROADS 2023, the fourteenth iteration of our annual film festival. CROSSROADS 2023 will be held September 8–10 at Gray Area with the festival line-up to be announced August 2023. CROSSROADS 2023 will also feature an online component, featuring (most likely) works included in the theatrical presentations, at www.sfcinematheque.org.


As a celebration of recent/contemporary film, video and performance, CROSSROADS prefers to preview fim/video work completed 2019–2023. If you have work completed prior to 2019 that you strongly feel would be right for CROSSROADS feel free to send it along, keeping our curatorial preference in mind.

There are absolutely no hard and fast genre restrictions governing the CROSSROADS curatorial process. That said, CROSSROADS tends to lean toward presenting works that engage with the histories and traditions associated with forms of cinema identified as avant-garde, experimental, underground, personal, graphic, abstract, expanded, “visionary,” etc etc etc, including work that is otherly challenging (in terms of form and content) and also including “conceptual” work and work that is expansive (whatever that means), confounding or boundary-crossing. Multi-projector work, film/video performance, presentations with live music (or other live components) and other “expanded cinema” forms are staples of the CROSSROADS experience and are ready to be challenged so please share this work. We are open to works of all durations, ranging from infinitesimally short to challengingly long. We are also interested in formally innovative narrative and documentary forms, animated works and the like. We are less interested in traditionally-formatted narratives or topically-oriented documentary films. We delight in new forms and surprises so if you think your film is right for CROSSROADS please share. Please see this history of CROSSROADS for examples of past exhibitions. Please contact festival@sfcinematheque.org with any questions.

We are quite honored to present world, national and local premieres of work and proudly reference such status in promoting the festival and its programs. The CROSSROADS curatorial process is open, however, to all works regardless of “premiere status.” We hold no policy of inclusion or exclusion based on this status and such status has no bearing whatsoever on our selection decisions. 

Viable formats for cinema space exhibition include 8mm, Super-8mm, 16mm, 35mm, QuickTime/ProRes and Blu-ray. Please note that we cannot currently ensure that DCP will be a viable format for us in 2023. We also seek submissions of cinematic (and “cinema adjacent”) performance, multi-projector (“expanded cinema”) projection works, installations and other works of para/proto/quasi cinema. Our curator and technical staff delight at unusual proposals and can often rise to artistic challenges; please bring them on. Please contact festival@sfcinematheque.org with inquiries concerning alternate exhibition formats or for more information on submitting performance, installation or other non-standard, even non-theatrical work. For the online iteration of CROSSROADS 2023, all works will be presented as digital video, QuickTime ProRes files preferred.

Our strong preference is that entries be submitted as streaming online video. If it is necessary for you to share your submission as physical media (e.g. DVD, Blu-Ray, film print, hard drive, etc.) please contact us at festival@sfcinematheque.org to discuss.

PLEASE NOTE: Cinematheque pays rental fees for all works screened in CROSSROADS.

San Francisco Cinematheque
55 Taylor Street
San Francisco CA 94102 USA

Makers of films selected for CROSSROADS 2023 will be informed via email July 2023. Final information on the work and the artist(s)—film note, bio, images, etc—will be requested at this time. You will be asked to provide an exhibition copy of your work (film or digital video) by mid-summer 2023 (depending on date of the festival, TBD). All physical exhibition media will be returned at the conclusion of the festival.

PLEASE NOTE that all dates and details relative to CROSSROADS 2023 are tentative and subject to change.

Questions? Please contact CROSSROADS at festival@sfcinematheque.org.



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