Skip to Content

The Beauty of Immersion: Past, Present + Future of Cinema

Watch the Panel Discussion:

For the past year, we have very much missed experiencing a film in an actual movie theater. This theatrical space of the cinema is a space that allows us to escape from everyday life. It’s a place where we can laugh out loud, cry in public without any shame, suffer by proxy, experience joy, and where we can forget ourselves. It’s a place to build relationships with our neighbors (who always seem to be sitting way too close by) even without talking to them. All of this can potentially happen to us within a film’s duration of 90 minutes or more. But what exactly are the elements constituting that “ribbon of dreams” (Orson Welles) that make the cinematic experience so very special? The panel discussion seeks to investigate this question by focusing on the cinema as a place of representation and reception that is deeply rooted in our cultural histories. What are the new forms of cinematic storytelling? What role does the immersive experience play, more and more driven, as it is, by various new technologies? And what role does cinema and a shared cinematic experience play for the community?

The panel discussion is a collaboration between the Goethe-Institut San Francisco, the German Film Office, and Goethe Pop Up Seattle.

This special panel is presented as a Facebook Live and YouTube Live event on Friday, May 28 at 10:00 AM (PDT)


Arlin Golden

Arlin Golden is an all-around film person living and working in the Bay Area. He rarely dreams, but the most frequent ones are the ones where it’s finals and he hasn’t been to class all semester. He hopes one day that the world recognizes the many values of the siesta system. Arlin Golden received his BA in Film Studies in 2010, is a documentary distributor and filmmaker, and runs Drunken Film Fest Oakland which has been voted 2019’s Best New Cultural Event by East Bay Express readers.

Lisa Gotto

Lisa Gotto is Professor of Film Theory at the University of Vienna. Her research in cinema and digital media focuses on film culture and film aesthetics over a variety of historical periods, including transformative processes in audience agency, moving image culture between cinema and post cinema, and interaction and immersion in digital media environments. She is co-editor of Bild und Bit. Visualität in der digitalen Medienkultur (2012), New Game Plus. Perspektiven der Game Studies. Genres – Künste – Diskurse (2015), Filmische Moderne. 60 Fragmente (2019), Hollywood im Zeitalter des Post Cinema. Eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme (2020). Her book Passing and Posing between Black and White. Calibrating the Color Line in U.S. American Cinema is forthcoming.

Nim Shapira

Nim Shapira is a filmmaker, artist, and creative director working at the intersection of storytelling and technological innovation. His work spans a spectrum of the moving image, from traditional ‘linear’ filmmaking to virtual-reality experiences. He won Webby, Addy, Clio & Lovie awards for his films, digital campaigns, commercials, interactive experiences, and XR projects. As an XR filmmaker, Nim is dedicated to creating a positive social impact in the world. His work revolves around questions of humanism, communication, and compassion. His first VR experience ‘Bystanding’, will world premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. Nim is a 2021 fellow at the MIT Open Documentary Lab (ODL). He is a 2020 alumni of NEWINC and a graduate of the La Biennale Di Venezia’s College Cinema for VR.

Rana San

Rana San is an artist and curator whose creative practice melds dreamwork, written word, embodied movement, video poetry, and analog photography. She uses experimental modes of visual storytelling to examine intimacy and interdependence as spiritual tools for survival. In community, Rana crafts collective experiences that celebrate the work of independent artists and activists who center emergent practices in moving image media and contemporary performing arts. As the Artistic Director at Northwest Film Forum, Rana co-curates year-round community programming, including ByDesign Festival, Cadence: Video Poetry Festival, and Local Sightings Film Festival. Her engagement as a co-curator for Yellow Fish Festival VI, a long form inquiry into durational performance art as a means to support methods of staying alive in our present times, is culminating with live performances in New York this month.

Moderated by Bettina Wodianka, Program Curator of the Goethe-Institut San Francisco and Curator of the Goethe Forum section.

Dates & Times


Online Panel

Fri, May 28
10:00 am