Visual Studies Workshop is pleased to present the calendar for the VSW Film Series: Spring, 2018.  This series showcases film and video art produced by local, regional and national artists, shown in original format and presented by the artist whenever possible.  The Spring, 2018 Series has expanded to include the innovative Community Curator program, which invites  community groups in the Rochester region to curate film screenings using VSW’s collection of over 9,000 film and video titles.

The VSW Film Series and Community Curator Program are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Monday, January 15th 5 pm reception/6-7pm screening and discussion

A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

This event will feature a series of short films from the VSW collection on the life of MLK and his legacy to promote racial equality and civil rights for all Americans. VSW graduate student Rashaad Parker will premiere his video installation, Train of Thought, and live music will be provided by the Ryan Johnson Project.  Presented with support from the Greater Rochester Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.  Artist in attendance

Saturday January 27th 2-4 pm

Community Curator: Metro Justice

Join us for a screening of Through Conflict to Negotiation, a rare film from the VSW collection selected by Community Curators from Metro Justice. Produced in 1968 by filmmaker Bonnie Sherr-Klein, this film tells the story of a community action group (FIGHT) in Rochester, NY, and its confrontation with Kodak on the issue of corporate responsibility to minority groups.

Metro Justice, a progressive, member-driven, grassroots organization dedicated to social, economic, and racial justice in Rochester, was founded by allies of the FIGHT community action group. Metro Justice will hold its annual meeting in the VSW auditorium from 10 am – 2 pm, open to anyone interested in learning more about their work.


Friday, February 2nd 6pm reception/7pm Screening/8pm Talk

Crystal Z. Campbell presents: Go-Rilla Means War

Featuring 35mm footage salvaged from a now demolished black civil rights theater in Brooklyn, New York, Go-Rilla Means War is an experimental short that merges fact and fiction. The film is a relic of gentrification, and highlights the complex intersections of development, cultural preservation and erasure in the form of an intricately spoken parable and celluloid frames weathered by decades of urban neglect. Presented by artist and filmmaker Crystal Z. Campbell, the screening will be followed by a gallery talk of the Go-Rilla Means War video installation in the VSW gallery.  Artist in attendance

Saturday, February 10th 2-4 pm

Community Curator: Rochester Community Television (RCTV)

Celebrate the right to free speech with Rochester Community Television, a valuable resource for anyone in Rochester who wants to produce, promote and broadcast their own media.  RCTV General Manager (and VSW alumni) Carvin Eison has selected a series of films and videos from the VSW collection that explore the boundaries of creative expression and media experimentation. Come learn more about RCTV, and the powerful history of community media in Rochester.

Friday, February 16th 6 pm – Book Sale    7 pm – Screening

Metaphors on Vision: 8mm Films by Stan Brakhage and Book Sale

Presented in partnership with the Dryden Theater at the George Eastman Museum

Out of print for over 40 years, Stan Brakhage’s landmark Metaphors on Vision has been republished by Anthology Film Archives and Light Industry. To celebrate the re-release of this critical text by one of avant-garde cinema’s most influential figures, we will be screening a selection of rare 8mm films from Brakhage’s Song Series. Thomas Beard, a founder and director of Light Industry and a Programmer at Large for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, will talk about the effort to re-publish Metaphors on Vision, and a limited number of copies will be available for purchase through the VSW bookstore.

Please note: The Dryden Theater will be screening a selection of Brakhage films on 16mm on Thursday, February 15th at 7:30 pm.

Saturday, February 24th 2-4 pm

Movies with Live Soundtracks

Joe Tunis of Rochester’s Carbon Records orchestrates an afternoon of obscure films from the VSW collection, combined with live soundtracks by local electro-noise musicians.  Featuring live performances by local bands Pengo, Jungle Heart, and No. Visit for more information on the performers and film titles.

Saturday, March 3 2-4 pm

Community Curator: Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood was founded on the idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams — no ceilings, no limits. Local artist and Planned Parenthood representative Kayla Carpitella has selected a series of short films from the VSW Collection that explore reproductive health, racial equality and the revolutionary history of the struggle for women’s rights in America. The screening will be followed by a discussion on Planned Parenthood’s work to support women today, and ways to support the women’s movement in our current political climate.

Thursday, March 22nd 6:30-9:00 pm

Ensemble Garage: Exploring Sonic Imagery

WORKSHOP: MEMBERS ONLY  Registration Required

Presented in partnership with the Eastman School of Music

Founded by German composer Brigitta Muntendorf in 2009, Ensemble Garage is a platform for musicians, composers and other artists to explore and display new ideas, concepts, and works. This informal presentation focuses on image and sound confluences, constellations, and collisions, with the award-winning Ensemble Garage from Cologne, Germany, and eminent Austrian video artist Claudia Rohrmoser, professor of Motion Design at the U.E. Berlin. The Ensemble and Claudia Rohmoser will present work by different composers, intermedia- and video artists, focusing on the interaction of seeing and hearing. Composition students from the Eastman School, and the Visual Studies Workshop are welcome to share their works for subsequent discussion and feedback. Presented by the Eastman Audio Research Studio [EARS] at the Eastman School of music, in collaboration with the Visual Studies Workshop, and supported by the UCIS (UofR).


Saturday, April 7th 2-4 pm

Community Curator: Showing Up for Racial Justice, Rochester (SURJ ROC)

Showing Up for Racial Justice believes in collective liberation through the eradication of of white supremacy, and in supporting the missions of People of Color-led racial justice groups in the Rochester area in their fight against oppression and inequality. SURJ ROC has chosen a selection of films from the VSW Collection that address, confront or exemplify the racist history of educational media in America. SURJ ROC member Kathy Castania and members of the Education Committee will moderate a post-screening discussion on building a multi-racial majority to challenge racism in all forms.


Thursday, April 19th 7 – 9 pm

Last Light of a Dying Star: Projection Performances by Roger Beebe

Filmmaker/curator/professor Roger Beebe returns to the East Coast for a 4-month, 3000-mile roadshow program of his multiple-16mm projector performances. The program features several premieres of new works alongside some of his best-known projector performances (including the six-projector show-stopping “Last Light of a Dying Star”), as well as recent award-winning work in single-channel HD video.  These films and videos take on a range of topics, including: the forbidden pleasures of men crying, the secret logic of the book of Genesis, Las Vegas suicides and the real spaces of the virtual economy.   Artist in attendance


Saturday, April 28th 2-4 pm

Community Curator: Rochester Global Refugee Services

Rochester Global Refugee Services (RGRS) advocates for the economic needs and educational development of refugees around the world, as well as locally here in Rochester.  Founder Faziri Ndahiro has selected films from the VSW Collection that feature histories and cultures of refugee populations in Rochester, as well as the political and social struggles faced by refugees around the world. A discussion on how to support refugee populations will follow the screening.  


Saturday, May 19th 7-9 pm

Strangely Ordinary This Devotion and Shameless Light:

A Multimedia performance by Sheilah & Dani Restack

Join us in welcoming Sheilah & Dani Restack (Sheilah Wilson & Dani Leventhal), who will present their multi-media performance, Shameless Light, followed by a screening of, Strangely Ordinary This Devotion, a single channel video featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

Artists in attendance


“Columbus, Ohio-based artists Dani Leventhal and Sheilah Wilson have embarked on an artistic relationship that is formally and emotionally adjacent to their domestic lives, a quotidian zone they share with their young daughter Rose … Although their joint body of work includes a performance based on the reading of love 
letters, Shameless Light (2016), and a new video installation, A Hand in Two Ways (Fisted) (2017), created for the Columbus Museum of Art, the major artwork to thus far emerge from the duo is their medium-length video Strangely Ordinary This Devotion.”  

–  Michael Sicinski, cinemascope magazine