film descriptions
screening history



Cathy Lee Crane is the recipient of the 1997 Eastman Kodak Award as “one of the nations' most promising talents of the future generation of filmmakers." While completing her Master of Fine Arts in Cinema at San Francisco State University, she received the John Gutmann Memorial Award for creative filmmaking in experimental and documentary genres and was nominated for numerous awards including the ASC/Karl Struss Heritage Award for cinematography. As a producer, her first media project Heroes in Our Community (1990), a portrait of AIDS activist Brent Nicholson Earle, was broadcast in the U.S. on BRAVO as part of their World AIDS Day Program. Her first short film white city (1994) recently screened in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 1999 film series "Radical Re-Presentations: Women, Surrealism, and Film" for which she also lectured on the Persistence of Surrealism. Her second film, Not for Nothin’ (1996) screened in over twenty international film festivals including the 41st Cork International Film Festival in Ireland where it was awarded Best Black-and-White Cinematography in a Short Film. Sketches after Halle (1997) was awarded Best Experimental Short Film at the 1998 CSU Media Arts Festival. These three films are distributed in the United States by Canyon Cinema and were broadcast in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on ZDF/3sat in May 2000. She has lectured extensively on the intersecting histories of queer and experimental film which culminated in her critically acclaimed 6-part series Queer Innovators curated with Jim Hubbard for the 1998 San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and presented at the DV8 Film Festival in Vienna, Austria that same year. Since 1994, she has been a cinematographer for numerous short films as well as feature-length documentary projects for Lynn Hershman and Harun Farocki. Her most recent short film The Girl from Marseilles (2000) will receive its world premiere at the Vienna International Film Festival in October 2000.


The Girl from Marseilles (2000, 16mm, b&w, 18 min.)
This fictional memoir gives voice to the woman who haunted Andre Breton's 1927 Surrealist novel Nadja. Speaking from the Vaucluse sanitarium as World War II approaches, she recounts their love affair through a matrix of archival and staged images of Paris. Award: John Gutmann Memorial Fund Excellence in Filmmaking 2000

"A singularly powerful film." - Akira Lippit, author of Electric Animal


Sketches after Halle (1997, 16mm, b&w/color, 13 min.)
A collision of separate pasts, this film pieces together fragments of the director's own images and text from the East German town of Halle with those produced by Bauhaus painter Lyonel Feininger. A meditative portrait on the persistence of emotional memory, the film interrogates the ability of images to document personal history. Award: Best Experimental Short Film 1998 CSU Media Arts Festival

"Beautiful visual style and writing." - Jenni Olson, author of The Ultimate Guide to Lesbian & Gay Film & Video


Not for Nothin' (1996, 16mm, b&w, 29 min.)
This sensualist's dream follows Louise Brooks look-alike Rodney O'Neal Austin on his search for the Beloved. From the cabaret to opium dens and dancing graces this homage to early sound film explores a world teeming with the mysteries of longing and death. Award: Best Black-and-White Cinematography in a Short Film 1996 Cork International Film Festival

"A lush, meditative film that eschews stylistic and narrative convention." - Mark Huisman, TimeOut New York


white city (1994, 16mm, b&w, 11 min.) As the cacophony of grieving opens onto the deep quiet of mourning, this poetic journey explores mortality as the psychic space of dwelling. Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke's poem Lament, this film evokes a landscape of personal loss.

"An effective mood piece." - Gary Morris, SF Weekly

worldwide sales

cathy lee crane * polyvinyl films

print rentals

canyon cinema * 2325 third street, suite 338 * san francisco, ca 94103* ph/fx: 415-626-2255



2000 The Girl from Marseilles 16mm, b&w, 19 min.


1997 Sketches after Halle 16mm, color/b&w, 13 min.


1996 Not for Nothin' 16mm, b&w, 28 min.


1994 white city 16mm, b&w, 11 min.