Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Permutations (still), 1976, 16mm film transferred to digital video, black and white, silent, 11:40 min. Courtesy of UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Permutations (still), 1976, 16mm film transferred to digital video, black and white, silent, 11:40 min. Courtesy of UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive


LIVING IN MIRRORS: the life that belongs to me

A selection of short films by women artists explore the moving power of portraiture and feminism.

This film screening features short films and videos by an intergenerational group of women artists who turn the cameras on themselves and others to access interior worlds. It includes a rare 16mm presentation of Permutations (1976) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, among other works originally shot on analog film by filmmakers including Stephanie Barber, Julie Dash, and Anne Charlotte Robertson. Illustrating the endless possibilities of film and the moving image, the artists in LIVING IN MIRRORS envision the screen as fertile ground for examination, construction, and projection of the self.

LIVING IN MIRRORS is guest curated by curator and filmmaker Gina Basso and San Francisco Cinematheque director Steve Polta. Basso’s concurrent Screening Room program seen only, heard only, through someone else’s description features films by women and non-binary artists that explore how images and narratives construct meaning and artifice. Polta previously guest curated certainty is becoming our nemesis, which focused on the blurring and ambiguity of identity, in McEvoy Arts’ Screening Room in 2020.


Valie Export
Gedichte, 1966–80

Julie Dash
Four Women, 1974

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
Permutations, 1976, 16mm

Anne Charlotte Robertson
Pixillation, 1976

Valie Export
Syntagma, 1983

Stephanie Barber
Oh My Homeland!, 2019, 16mm

Ilene Segalove
Coal Confessions, 1972


Gina Basso is a San Francisco-based independent film programmer and visual artist. She has organized programs for revered San Francisco movie houses including The Roxie Theater, The Castro Theater, and Alamo Drafthouse. Additionally, she has curated programs for Design Within Reach, San Francisco, CA; Hunter’s Point Shipyard, San Francisco, CA; and the Northwest Film Forum, Seattle, WA and is currently the film curator for San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In her creative practice, she uses video to explore transitional or altered states of being. Through moving collage, handmade animation, and sound she draws on a rich tradition of experimentation with various forms, materials, and processes, combining found and original footage to harness the energy of poetic montage. Her video work has been presented in the Bay Area at San Francisco’s Cinematheque’s Crossroads Festival, Artist Television Access, San Francisco, the Roxie Theater, HAXAN Film Festival, Antimatter Experimental Film Festival, Vancouver, BC, and online via She was the 2017 recipient of a Curatorial Travel Grant for film research awarded by the French American Cultural Society and San Francisco French Consulate.

Steve Polta is the Director of San Francisco Cinematheque. He is a co-founder and current curator of Cinematheque’s CROSSROADS film festival, presented annually since 2010. He holds an MFA in Filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from San José State University. He is co-editor, with Brett Kashmere, of Craig Baldwin: Avant to Live! documenting the film and curatorial work of the Bay Area artist to be co-published by Cinematheque and INCITE Journal of Experimental Media in 2022. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.


San Francisco Cinematheque, founded by filmmaker Bruce Baillie in 1961, is the Bay Area’s only dedicated venue for avant-garde/experimental, underground, and personally expressive film and video work. With a base of support strongly grounded in the Bay Area artistic community, Cinematheque proudly contributes to national and international cinematic discourses. Cinematheque’s mission is accomplished through its work in three primary areas: curated public programming, publications, and archives. Its annual CROSSROADS film festival celebrates recent (and rediscovered) artist-made film, video, and performance cinema.

LIVING IN MIRRORS is co-presented by McEvoy Arts and San Francisco Cinematheque in conjunction with the exhibit Image Gardeners.

Digital presentation of Four Women courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.