Somi: in the absence of things

Experience a screening preview of in the absence of things, an experimental short film written and performed by renowned jazz-vocalist Somi and directed by Mariona Lloreta.  Created during the COVID-19 pandemic, the work is a lyrical meditation on the profound sense of personal vacancy that a performer feels in the absence of live performance.  The film also aims to frame the disruption of otherwise quieted cultural spaces as a larger metaphor for the work most American arts institutions still need to do in service of Black storytelling.  Following the screening Somi and Mariona will discuss the conception and making of the film.

This film was originally commissioned by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at University of Illinois, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and ArtsEmerson Boston.

SuperPOWERED Pricing

SuperPOWERED pricing is listed for all our virtual events. It’s the the average price you would’ve paid to see the event live. Thank you for being our superhero!

Los Hamsters

Los Hamsters is a delightfully dark social satire about a riotously dysfunctional Tijuana family. The parents and two teenagers are going to such lengths to hide secrets from each other that they are completely oblivious to the drama in the others lives. Emerging Mexican filmmaker Gil Gonzalez has crafted a comedy that packs a lot of punch through subtly drawn family dynamics reflecting contemporary middle class society worldwide. [Gil Gonzalez, 2014, Mexico, 71 min]

Short Film: The Contreras Family A comedy about a family engaging in illicit activity they are hiding from each other. [Alejandro Becerril, 2014, Mexico, 12 min]

MENU Mini Beef Empanadas with Spicy Aioli, Carnitas Tacos with Black Beans and Spanish Rice, Churros. Vegetarian options available upon request, visit for menu. Drinks sold separately.

The Spirit of the Beehive

Directed by Victor Erice, The Spirit of the Beehive is widely regarded as one of the greatest Spanish films of the 1970s. Six-year-old Ana attends a traveling screening of Frankenstein in her small Castilian village. She becomes possessed by the memory of it, and is determined to find the monster herself. Visually arresting, the film is a bewitching portrait of a child’s haunted inner life.


Appetizer: papas bravas with smoky aioli; Entrée: chicken with Catalan picada and herbed rice, vegetarian option: please call 858.822.3199; Dessert: flan with brandied berries and mint

Miwa Matreyek Double Feature

Miwa Matreyek’s performances have thrilled audiences at major festivals and theaters around the world. They create a metaphor-laden fantasy world that is always grounded in reality with Matreyek’s own presence. This World Made Itself is a visual and musical journey through the history of the universe, from its beginning to the ever complex world of humans. Filled with a child’s sense of scientific wonder and rich in surrealism, this engrossing live performance combines animation and movement theater. In Myth and Infrastructure the artist’s shadow is constantly present as the world around her shifts and transforms, integrating her body into her own fantastical imagination, in which she traverses oceans, cityscapes, and domestic spaces to conjure dreamlike scenes. The performance features original music by Flying Lotus, Careful, Anna Oxygen, Caroline, and Mileece.

I Wish

After being separated from his brother by their parents’ divorce, 12-year-old Koichi’s only wish is for his family to be reunited. Portrayed by real-life brothers Kôki and Ôhshirô Maeda, the pair develops a plan to reunite with each other.

“ . . . as unaffected, spirited, and lovable as I can imagine.”—Roger Ebert


Appetizer: tempura shrimp and veggies; Entrée: sugar & soy-glazed salmon, jasmine rice, and roasted asparagus, vegetarian option: please call 858.822.3199; Dessert: matcha cake with berry buttercream and ginger creme anglaise

Manual Cinema | Lula del Ray

Employing overhead projectors, shadow puppets, actors in silhouette, and live music, Lula del Ray is the story of a lonely adolescent girl who lives with her mother on the outskirts of a vast satellite array in the middle of the desert. After a chance encounter over the radio, Lula becomes obsessed with a soulful country duo. Encouraged by their music, she runs away from home and into a world of danger, deception, and disappointment. Set in the mid-century American Southwest and inspired by the music of Hank Williams, Roy Orbison, and Patsy Cline, Lula del Ray is a mythic reinvention of the classic coming-of-age story. Audience members are invited on stage post-performance to interact with the artists.

The First Movie

The First Movie is a tribute to the imaginative resilience of children. When filmmaker Mark Cousins traveled to Goptapa, a small Kurdish village in Northern Iraq devastated by Saddam Hussein’s regime, he discovered children who have known nothing but war. The children were given camcorders and they created their own movies filled with wonder and boundless imagination. The resulting films are the true gift of The First Movie. Get a glimpse of a different Iraq and the world through the transformative lens of a child’s eyes.


Appetizer: summag salad; Entrée: lamb & chicken kabobs, seasonal veggies, and warm pita, vegetarian option: please call 858.822.3199; Dessert: bread pudding with Irish coffee sauce & vanilla ice cream


Stefan Elnabli, Panelist
Stefan Elnabli is UC San Diego Library’s Media Curation Librarian, overseeing media collections and providing strategic direction in the Library’s development and management of moving image resources. Elnabli’s engagement with visual culture spans the areas of cinema studies, archival preservation, and film programming/projection. His past appointments include positions with WNET Channel 13 Digital Archive, Anthology Film Archives, Doc Films at the University of Chicago, and digital preservation units within major university libraries including New York University, Stanford University, and Northwestern University. Elnabli holds an M.A. in moving image archiving and preservation from New York University.

Rebecca Romani, Panelist
Rebecca Romani holds an M.A. in television film and new media from San Diego State University (SDSU). She has lived and worked in Belgium, France, and Morocco. Her writing on Middle Eastern film has appeared in Cineaste Magazine and Al Jadid as well as on and the Levantine Review. She has also taught classes on Middle Eastern film, film noir, and other genres for SDSU Osher and led discussions at the Downtown Public Library. She is the project director of the multi-media project Arabs Anonymous No Hay Moros, which has produced film screenings, art shows and concerts by artist of Middle Eastern descent.