lookingatneonsigns_motel7_stillLooking at Neon Signs

Looking At Neon Signs, 3m, super 8, 2015
a super 8 experiment in gazing at neon signs during magic hour.
Commissioned by Echo Park Film center, 2015, “All Night Salon” fundraiser. All works were created on super8.


bardstill4_stagewlighntingbolt_birneyBard in the Backcountry

Bard in the Backcountry, 56m, HD, 2015
BARD IN THE BACKCOUNTRY is the story of Shakespeare in Montana. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at a summer with the professional, regional touring company, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks – from first read through to final performance. Through the journey of the summer tour, the story reveals the mutual impact the tour has on the lives of these young actors and the people who put in the effort to bring the show to town. This film premiered at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and is currently in national release on your local PBS stations through American Public Television. To visit the film’s website click here.


Mating for Life trailer

Mating for Life, 50m, HD, Animation, 16mm, super 8, 2012

This intimate documentary, narrated by the filmmaker, focuses on a personal pilgrimage to witness the annual spring migration of the sandhill cranes: a metaphor for human transformation.  The film evokes a meditation on nature and art, and poses essential questions about our need for both connection and solitude. Click here to visit the MATING FOR LIFE website.

highplainswinter_still3coyoteHigh Plains Winter

High Plains Winter, 2006, 10 m, super 8 & 16mm

HIGH PLAINS WINTER is a film about the winter landscape and how it affects the human spirit on the high plains of Montana. The American/Scandinavian sport ski joring, which involves a horse & rider pulling a skier, is the centerpiece of this visual study of winter on the high plains. Alongside the sport imagery are majestic, winter landscapes and signs of domestic life: horses, dogs and people. These elements weave together to explore the nature of human life in this environment, the mythologies and the realities. This film premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was screened as part of the Documentary Fortnight at the Museum of Modern Art.


aseasononthemove_still3_flowersA Season on the Move

A Season on the Move, 2004, 12 m, super8

A SEASON ON THE MOVE is a meditation on two harvests: wheat cutting and sheep shearing. The landscape plays a key role, along with the combines, shearing combs,  and weather patterns. The film cycles through the seasons and presents these processes as mythological oddities and realistic modern agricultural practices in the American rural west, both pastoral and disturbing. This film premiered at Slamdance Film Festival.

thefirststory_still4The First Story

The First Story, 2000, 11 m, super8

THE FIRST STORY is a short film that explores overland power in the western landscape: the big rigs on I 90 and the freight trains crossing Wyoming. The images were collected on super 8 throughout Wyoming and Montana over the course of two years. They were compiled under the guiding principle of applying the improvisational techniques of making music to making a film. This film premiered at Slamdance Film Festival.


haydazestillHay Daze

HAY DAZE, 2007, 1.5 m, super 8

HAY DAZE is a micro short film that visually documents the “What the Hay?” celebration near Hobson, Montana. Each autumn hay growers celebrate cutting season by creating hay bale sculptures. These are displayed predominately in the fields and a driving tour is designed for viewing the year’s creations. HAY DAZE features super 8 footage of notable creations with a sparse soundtrack that uses naturalistic sounds.


111long_still3_tiki111º Longitude

111º Longitude, 2009, 8.5 m, digital video, super 8

111º LONGITUDE is a short experimental documentary collaboration by Cindy Stillwell and Yuri Makino. The film is structured like a series of letters or voice mail exchanges, rambling and searching, using text on screen, visuals and voice. We found ourselves at similar places in our lives, including living along the 111th meridian—wondering about youthful expectations, commitment, and family. Pastoral domestic images both real and imagined become interrogations about creating a home, especially as it relates to women living in the modern world.


osprinklers_still1O! Sprinklers

O! Sprinklers, 2002, 7 m, digital video

O! SPRINKLERS is a visual probe of a variety of sprinklers. The intention was to look closely at the seemingly mundane concept of sprinklers and reinterpret them as possible residual artifacts of human life. Sprinklers themselves conjure different things for different people: wide open space, neighborhoods, or the season they bring to mind. We were interested in how the commonality of memory and experience can transform everyday objects into cultural phenomena. This film was a collaboration between Cindy Stillwell and Bill Neff. This film premiered at Slamdance Film Festival.