Tarot Portrait: Faith (2023) by Brittany Gravely & Ken Linehan

light slants in the wrong direction
Saturday, September 9 | 3:30pm at Gray Area


Wafting across the blue of distance and embodying tentative positions of emotional precarity and strength these films explore internal landscapes, hauntings of childhood, distanced erotics and subterranean unravelings. The mirror is a placeless place, as tears go by.

SCREENING: Test Objects (2023) by Sam Drake (US); digital video, color, sound, 10 minutes. There, Where She is Not (2022)  by Sarah Ballard (US); digital video, color, sound, 8 minutes. Exterior Turbulence (2023) by Sofia Theodore-Pierce (US); digital video, color, sound, 12 minutes. My Home (2022) by Azar Saiyar (Finland); digital video, color, sound, 12 minutes, exhibition file from AV-arkki. Heliotrope (2023) by Janie Geiser (US); digital video, color, sound, 8 minutes. tectum argenti (2022) by Joanna Byrne (UK); digital video, color, silent, 9 minutes. Tarot Portrait: Faith (2023) by Brittany Gravely (US) & Ken Linehan (US); 16mm, color, sound, 9 minutes. TRT: 64 minutes

program community partner: Tenderloin Museum



$12 General/$10 Cinematheque Members, Gray Area Members & students (with ID)


$110 General/$88 Cinematheque Members, Gray Area Members & students (with ID)

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Test Objects (2023) by Sam Drake

Fragmented attempts to describe a sensation. Acts of hypnosis disturbing familiar spaces. …It’s like you’re underwater and alone and everybody else is on land and together, only we’re inhabiting the same space having to witness each other like idiots. (Sam Drake) bay area premiere

There, Where She is Not (2022) by Sarah Ballard

Echos of a time in my grandmother’s life that she no longer remembers—a fractured memory recollected through proxy figures Frances Farmer and Marguerite Duras—a mirror is a placeless place. (Sarah Ballard) bay area premiere

Exterior Turbulence (2023) by Sofia Theodore-Pierce

Seizure dreams, horses and long distance conversations from bed. Loose reenactments from Marguerite Duras’ Baxter, Vera Baxter (1977). A year of stormy weather and temporal rupture recalled in fragments. Featuring my mother and other star crossed lovers. (Sofia Theodore-Pierce) bay area premiere

My Home (2022) by Azar Saiyar

Childhood is both hard to forget and remember. There is a lack of words as we are still learning them—the way that words are put together and then valuated. The film goes through various archives, both personal and public, from different times and from different moments of life. It tries to remember. These ingredients do not build a single coherent narrative, one pure argument, a continuously developing story of growth, nor a piece that is solely a person’s own. We know and remember things even if they have not happened to us. (Azar Saiyar) bay area premiere

Heliotrope (2023) by Janie Geiser

A subterranean unraveling, seeds fall to the ground with nowhere to land. The only witness is blindfolded, and she, too, falls at some point. The underground factory operates day and night, the burrowing continues, in a long slow attempt to fabricate what could actually make itself. (Janie Geiser) world premiere

tectum argenti (2022) by Joanna Byrne

A moving meditation on the process of therapeutic healing through reconnecting with the self in nature: shot, home-processed and hand-edited on 16mm film. Internal and external landscapes intertwine in an assemblage of fractured but interconnected poetic gestures, multiple exposures, textural images and abstract marks made onto the surface of the film. Hand-dyed with turmeric, washed in tea, wine and blackberry juice, tumbledried, painted, cut into, scratched and spliced, dust and hair cling to the skin of the celluloid. “Tectum argenti” is the alchemists’ ancient name for bismuth (Bi in the periodic table), meaning literally, “silver being made.” In this film I wanted to evoke my difficult (but at times euphoric) personal journey of coming out and healing from the past. (Joanna Byrne) north american premiere

Tarot Portrait: Faith (2023) by Brittany Gravely & Ken Linehan

Faith is part of a set of cinematic tarot cards in which we collaborate with the subjects to create layered vignettes infused with personal symbolism. By choosing costumes, objects, actions and locations that represent their own visions, the stars of these films bring forth what they want to manifest mythically and physically within their lives. Inspired by their particular choices and personalities, we collaborate throughout the shoot, double-exposing each roll of film as a toss of the alchemical I ching while adding a spectral layer. Sealed into the receptive emulsion, these layered iconographies are then awakened with the projection of light and witnessed by those who may recognize parts of their own dreams. (Brittany Gravely & Ken Linehan) world premiere

Sam Drake (US) is a filmmaker (b. Dayton, OH) currently based in Milwaukee WI. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she is also the programmer of the Union Cinema.

Sarah Ballard (US) is a filmmaker and educator based in Milwaukee. Her films have screened in festivals such as Antimatter [Media Art] Film Festival, San Diego Underground Film Festival, Engauge Experimental Film Festival and Onion City Experimental Film Festival.

Sofia Theodore-Pierce (US) is a filmmaker, writer, and educator. Their nonfiction films balance choreographed engagement with collected ephemera and unrehearsed home movie aesthetics to explore the spaces, bodies, and social structures we inhabit. Their work has been exhibited at festivals and venues such as The Irish Film Institute, Alchemy Moving Image Festival, Athens Film & Video Festival, Prismatic Ground, Edinburgh International and FRACTO Berlin. They currently teach cinema at SUNY Binghamton.

Azar Saiyar (Finland) is a Helsinki-based filmmaker and visual artist whose art has been shown at film and media art festivals (e.g. DOK Leipzig, Uppsala SFF, IFF Message to Man, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin), galleries, exhibitions, museums and on television. She often uses archive materials and plays with images and words of collective memory to look towards the ways of looking, speaking, remembering and telling stories. She also does collaborative works with other artists.

Janie Geiser (US) is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes cinema, performance and installation. Geiser’s work is known for its recontextualization of abandoned images and objects, its embrace of artifice and its investigation of memory, power and loss. Geiser’s films have been presented at the National Gallery of Art, MOMA, LACMA, Pacific Film Archive, Centre Pompidou and at the NY Film Festival, SFIFF, TIFF, Viennale and other venues.  Geiser is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Doris Duke Award and fellowships from Creative Capital and the Rockefeller Foundation. Her film The Red Book (1994) was selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. A pioneer of the renaissance of American avant-garde puppet performance, Geiser also creates innovative, hypnotic live performances that integrate performing objects and projection.

Joanna Byrne (UK) artist-filmmaker and writer. She works with analogue moving images in a hands-on, tactile way: home-processing, hand-editing and incorporating found footage and physical traces of her body into her work. Byrne is interested in the therapeutic and transformational potential of experimental film and expanded cinema practices.

Artistically Brittany Gravely (US) has focused on 16mm film for the past several years, but also creates works in many other media. Currently, she creates expanded and non-expanded cinema projects of a more mystical nature in Magical Approach, with Ken Linehan. Recently, their films screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Artifact, Fracto, CROSSROADS, Chicago Underground Film Festival and Antimatter, among others. She also works as the publicist and designer for the Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge MA and is a founding member of the artist-run film lab AgX.

With a focus on sound and audio media, Ken Linehan’s (US) creative work explores intermedia space through works including field recordings, 16mm motion picture films, silkscreened images, works of cut paper as well as a variety of music projects. Most recently, Ken has been engaged in a series of psychic/cinematic collaborations in Magical Approach with Brittany Gravely. Having graduated in 2001 with an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Kenneth has taught courses on sound art and film sound at MassArt and RISD. Over the past decade his work has been exhibited at arts spaces and other venues such as the RISD Museum, the Boston Center for the Arts, Apex Art, AS220 and the Brattle Theatre, including events programed by Mono No Aware, Magic Lantern Cinema, Millennium Film Workshop and Balagan Films.