Mothlight Microcinema

  1. an artist-run, nomadic film series screening experimental and avant-garde, fiction, documentary, and animated film + video in Detroit, Michigan since 2012.
  2. screening schedules and program line-ups can be found here and on our Facebook page
  3. Stay connected by subscribing to our newsletter!

Upcoming Events
MMC 2024 ++
  1. Gaza Ghetto (1984), Speakers: Umayyah Cable and Hannah Fahoome
  2. 16mm filmmaking workshop with Shanna Maurizi

Past Programs
MMC 2023 ++
  1. 16mm filmmaking workshop with the Detroit Narrative Agency
  2. 60th Ann Arbor Touring Program, Q&A with Jerrod Willis

MMC 2022 ++
  1. 59th Ann Arbor Touring Program, Q&A with Ahya Simone 

MMC 2021 ++
  1. Malni: towards the ocean towards the shore, Q&A with Sky Hopinka
  2. Film About a Father Who, Q&A with Lynne Sachs

MMC 2020 ++
  1. The Wolf House (virtual, co-presented with The Film Lab and Cinema Lamont)
  2. Vitalina Varela (virtual, co-presented with The Film Lab)

MMC 2019 ++
  1. Films in Space (Cosmos + shorts on 16mm)
    Curated by Raul Benitez

  2. Remember to Remember: New and Old Films from Niagara Custom Lab
    Curated by Derek Jenkins

MMC 2018 ++
  1. Chicagoland Shorts, Vol 4 
    Curated by Full Spectrum Features
  2. Based in Havana: Documentary Shorts
    Curated by Mary Pena
  3. Clicks Inside My Dreams: Short Films by Margaret Rorison, Q&A with Rorison
  4. Image Bearings: New Video Work by Women in the Midwest
    Curated by Sally Lawton, Q&A with Bree Gant

MMC 2017 ++
  1. The Maribor Uprisings, Q&A with Maple Raza
  2. Kairos Dirt and the Errant Vacuum, Q&A with Madsen Minax
  3. INAATE/SE/, Q&A with Adam Khalil
  4. ANTI-ETHNOGRAPHY, Q&A with Adam Khalil
  5. Untitled (Just Kidding), Q&A with Jesse Malmed

MMC 2016 ++
  1. Chicagoland Shorts
    Curated by Full Spectrum Features

  2. Films by Mothlight Filmmaker-in-Residence Jayne Amara Ross, Q&A with Ross
  3. Films by Ephraim Asili, Q&A with Asili
  4. SÖFNUN: Mothlight Microcinema in Iceland
  5. Seeking: Missed Connections & Loose Associations, Q&A with Chris Collins & LJ Freeza
  6. Films for One to Eight Projectors: Multiple Projector Experiments by Roger Beebe, Q&A with Beebe

MMC 2015 ++
  1. Itinerant Spaces: Films by Stephen Connolly, Q&A with Connolly
  2. Minority Report
    Curated by Nazli Dincel, Q&A with Sky Hopinka

  3. Frenkel Defects III
    Curated by Kevin Rice
  4. Handmade Emulsion workshop with Process Reversal (led by Kevin Rice)
  5. Cellular Cinema VI: Mothlight in Minneapolis
  6. Films by Filmmaker-in-Residence Dan Smeby, Q&A with Smeby
  7. Tale of Two Syrias: Films by Filmmaker-in-Residence Yasmin Fedda, Q&A with Fedda
  8. Paradise: Films by Filmmaker-in-Residence Lydia Moyer, Q&A with Moyer
  9. Failure: Experimental Animation by Kelly Sears, Q&A with Sears
  10. Projection Instructions: Selections from Filmmakers Coop Curated by Josh Guilford, performed by Mothlight

MMC 2014 ++
  1. Synchronicity, Q&A with Jason Sudak
  2. Films by Julie Murray, Q&A with Murray
  3. Films by Fern Silva, Q&A with Silva
  4. Form/Fragment, Q&A with Jen Proctor
  5. 51st Ann Arbor Film Festival Touring Program

MMC 2013 ++
  1. Moving: 16mm shorts
  2. On Holiday
    Curated by Brandon Walley
  3. Peninsulam, Q&A with Jack Cronin
  4. Handmade (Animation)
    Curated by Gary Schwartz, Q&A with Dustin Grella
  5. Portraits of America, Part II, Q&A with Katie Barkel & Oren Goldenberg
  6. Portraits of America, Part I, Q&A with Brandon Walley

MMC 2012 ++
  1. Maximal Minimal (16mm)


MMC19 10032015 / Handmade Emulsion workshop and Frenkel Defects III screening 
with Kevin Rice from Process Reversal  

Mothlight Microcinema is pleased to host, Kevin Rice of the Denver-based artist-run initiative, Process Reversal ( to lead a workshop in hand-making 16mm film emulsion and hand processing techniques. This event is co-sponsored by Lawrence Technical University, to whom we are very grateful for the use of their darkroom.While in no way a replacement for commercially produced film stocks, hand making and coating silver gelatin emulsions can lead to new and creative ways of forming cinematic images. In this two day workshop, participants will learn to exercise this technique by adopting various D-I-Y strategies to generate black & white emulsions for both in-camera photography and printing purposes. Along the way, theories concerning emulsion chemistry and production will also be discussed so that participants can expand upon them in their own work. Finally, the basic procedures for cinematography, photo-processing and contact printing (with a Bolex) will be demonstrated, forming a complete practical overview of the silver-gelatin process.The workshop will consist of TWO eight-hour days of instruction; going from 10am to 6pm each day.
Cost of the entire two-day workshop: TBD (probably around $30)

Kevin will also be presenting a program of films on October 6th at Trinosophes! (see below)

Mothlight Microcinema is thrilled to host Kevin Rice of Process Reversal ( who will present Frenkel Defects III.

This recurring series aims to explore what it means to work in, and exhibit on, photochemical film today by examining works from artists operating in film-specific practices. Often, this involves getting one’s hands dirty at every stage of the filmmaking process: from optical effects to photo-processing, editing and contact printing, optical sound recording, and even emulsion making itself... As result (and as suggested by the series' title), creative aberrations make their way into the standard photochemical processes, giving birth to a new, textural aesthetic that plays out at the level of film emulsion. More than ever before, film reminds us of its physicality, giving a new sense to Andrei Tarkovsky’s idea of “sculpting in time.”

Many of the selected works have been produced at independen film-lab collectives based in Europe and dedicated to the continuation of photochemical filmmaking, including LaborBerlin (Berlin), L’Abominable (Paris) and Filmwerkplaat (Rotterdam). While such institutes continue to remain prominent in Europe, the trend is beginning to emerge in North America, with experimental laboratories springing up in Boston, Oakland, Denver, New York, Vancouver, Montreal and elsewhere. Process Reversal, having amassed large number of donations of lab equipment, hopes to continue aiding in the growth of these spaces by providing communities with the necessary tools, knowledge and resources necessary to ensure the viability of the medium for all.Additionally, in support of the tour, Process Reversal member Kevin Rice will be facilitating workshops on “Emulsion Making & Coating for Motion Picture Film” on October 3rd and 4th. Please see the FB event ( for more information on the workshop.

About the Curators

Mariya Nikiforova was born in 1986 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She received a BFA in Visual & Media Arts from the Honors Program at Emerson College in 2009. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in cinema studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III) while continuing to work in 16mm as part of the independent film labs L'Etna and L'Abominable.

Originating from Denver, Colorado, Kevin Rice is a ‘film archivist’ whose practice focuses on the study of photochemical theories, the development of lab resources for filmmakers, and the documentation of various darkroom odysseys on motion picture film. He has taught and screened work at film communities all around the world, including (London), l’abominable (Paris), Klubvizija (Zagreb), Laborberlin (Berlin), Crater Lab (Barcelona), Black Hole Cinema (Oakland), Echo Park Film Center (Los Angeles), LIFT (Toronto), IRIS (Vancouver) and many more. In 2012, he helped co-found Process Reversal.

Program 1

Schleusenroth | Volga (504 feet, 1.33:1, Wild Sound, Germany/Lebanon)
Looking at river locks.

Flow | Lichun Tseng (612 feet, 1.33:1, Optical Sound, Netherlands)
“Change is a process, is the starting point equal to the end point? What if everything is in a flow, what meaning of value of life can be derived from the interconnectedness of all things. Reflecting the subtle relationships between the flow of changing, awareness of being and observation of breathing through abstract and rhythmic moving images. Integrating and developing a poetic state of contemplative and meditative process and flow in between void and solid; moving and still; expanding and gathering; strength and softness.”

Fractions | Guillaume Mazloum (1620 feet, 1.33:1, Optical Sound, France)
“Fractions is a seven part film. Seven sequences, each with a pattern and a reference to a text of a political nature, to create a space for reflection on the scope and responsibility of these images. Between self-portrait and testimony, each fraction is an autonomous thinking, remaining yet necessary to the overall restitution of a personal research on film practice, in correlation with the emancipatory thinking. The images then become a pretext for this reflection, freed from their narrative and documentary nature, the site of a more intimate experience. This work draws the accomplishment of several years of reading, strewed with fleeting moments of reality captured instinctively with my camera, all reworked and remodeled with traditional cinema tools.”

Program 2

Konrad & Kurfurst | Esther Urlus (252 feet, 1.33:1, Optical Sound, Netherlands)
“A fictional re-enactment of a 5 minutes happening that took place during the Olympic games in Berlin 1936. Made on home brew emulsion and color toned with the helping hand of technical publications from early cinema and photographic experiments. The home brew emulsion as fragile metaphor for the heroism of Konrad and his horse Kurfurst. Falling from his horse he became a national hero but overtaken by history, an anti-hero.”

WAKE | Eric Stewart (288 feet, 1.33:1, MOS, USA)
“Wake is a dirge in celluloid. It is a celebration of my father's life, a meditation on his body and a visual record of mourning. When my father died, there was never a chance to see his body after life had left it. This film was made by placing his ashes directly on 35mm film in a dark room and moving the film a frame at a time. What we see in this process of photograming is not the object in the photographic sense, but instead a representation of the space surrounding an object. The photogram is a shadow charting the distance between things.”

In the Traveler’s Heart | DISTRUKTUR (720 feet, 1.33:1, Optical Sound, Lithuania/Germany/Brazil)
“The winter reigns as the Traveler crosses by feet an ancient landscape. In this place there's also another presence, someone who's very similar to the Traveler. Does the Traveler realise this figure that cohabits the same space as him? Is the other a guardian angel or a devil?”

Aula Magna | Andrés Denegri (360 feet, 1.33:1, Optical Sound, Argentina)
“A structural farewell poem made for a beloved place. The images were shot frame by frame over the course of a year, in order to portray the author’s home main room through the variation of the light coming from a window. The sound, by Pablo Denegri, was made by mixing and processing, in real time, direct recordings made in the same space.”

Split Film 100110 | Dražen Zanchi (1080 feet, 1.33:1, Wild Sound, Croatia/France)
Boats are entering in the Split harbor. Each sequence is a maneuver: slow and continuous. Nevertheless, boats and their movements become more and more difficult to recognize because the image is drawn in fluctuations of its physical elements. Textures of bulky light layers and grainy grey noises are confounded with the soundtrack. The latter is articulated around the touch, i.e. local and non-propagating formations grafted on thick resonant and tonal substrate.