Buy Tickets

Thu, March 27, 9:15pm

Penelope Spheeris: Films 1968–1998

Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

A program of short independent films by Penelope Spheeris, who will be in attendance. The program includes her early films I Don’t Know and Hats Off to Hollywood, which screened at the AAFF in the early 1970s. Spheeris’s early work was ahead of its time in playing with the boundaries of fiction and documentary as well as depicting an emerging queer culture of the 1970s.

Sponsored by Burns Park Consulting

Films Showing:


(Penelope Spheeris, 1968) 7.5 min

Penelope Spheeris's first film, made in 8mm Kodachrome at UCLA. In a seemingly near-future control room devoid of people, various readouts and calculations suggest that humankind is not altogether compatible...


(Penelope Spheeris, 1969) 5.5 min

Made in an environment and at a time when frequent and gratuitous images of nude women permeated the work of her male counterparts, Spheeris produced this intimate and sensual observation...


(Penelope Spheeris, 1969) 3.5 min

Never completely finished during its original production, this snarky comic piece was rediscovered in Spheeris’s vaults in 2010 and preserved as-is.  The titular substance plays a key role in determining...

The National Rehabilitation Center

(Penelope Spheeris, 1969) 12 min

Two years before Peter Watkins’ Punishment Park, Spheeris takes the McCarran Act to its inevitable next step and shows us - via an early use of mockumentary - what the...

I Don’t Know

(Penelope Spheeris, 1970) 20 min

A truly major work, I Don’t Know observes the relationship between a lesbian and a transgender man who prefers to identify somewhere in between male and female, in an expression...

Hats Off to Hollywood

(Penelope Spheeris, 1972) 22 min

Picking up the story first presented in I Don’t Know, Hats Off to Hollywood brazenly and brilliantly mixes documentary reality with fully staged recreations/reimaginings of episodes in the lives of...

No Use Walkin’ When You Can Stroll

(Penelope Spheeris, 1998) 11 min

One-time carny, bartender, and married ten times, Penelope Spheeris’s mother was an uncommon woman.  In this sweet, funny, and moving video portrait, Spheeris gives us a vivid glimpse into the...