Past Film Screenings & Events

The Sprocket Society presents occasional film screenings at venues in Seattle, WA. Catalogued below are past screenings and series since our first public show in 2008.

Our programs center on a range of topics and genres: silent film, early sound, genre films, experimental and underground cinema, and more. Our Secret Matinee series also recreates the classic weekend matinee experience, complete with weekly serial episodes. Actual film prints are always shown, never video.

In many cases program notes were provided to the audience. PDFs of these are archived in the Library section of this web site.

Upcoming Event Announcements

There are several ways to learn of upcoming Sprocket Society screenings and events.

  1. Search and Rescue: Sound Found
    March 4, 2008 | Northwest Film Forum
    Rare prints of early sound films. Presented as part of the NWFF series Search and Rescue.
  2. Keep Warm, Burn Britain! An Evening of Films, Performance, and Live Music
    April 13, 2008 | The JewelBox Theater at The Rendezvous (Seattle)
    Co-presented with The Disembodied Theater Corporation
    Filmmaker and restorationist Ross Lipman presents a Magic Lantern / slide show and a selection of his earlier experimental short films and documentaries. Plus live music by Ruby Thicket and The Philistine Liberation Orchestra.
  3. Georges Méliès: Impossible Voyager
    May 15, 2008 | Northwest Film Forum (Seattle)
    Great special effects epics by the pioneering French filmmaker presented with unconventional musical selections, including live narration and antique Victrola DJing courtesy of Climax Golden Twins. Read the program notes (PDF).
  4. The Sunday Secret Matinees
    Weekly, August 31 - November 23, 2008 | Northwest Film Forum
    A three-month series recreating the weekend matinees of yesteryear. Each week's show included an episode of the serial Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940), a cartoon and/or short subject, and a secret (unannounced) feature film (usually classic science fiction or horror).
  5. The Sunday Secret Matinees II: Adventure! And Stuff!
    Weekly, March 1 - May 24, 2009 | Northwest Film Forum
    The weekend matinee series returns, this time featuring the classic adventure serial Zorro's Fighting Legion (1939). The features were more diverse this time, including silent film, art-house and foreign releases, swashbucklers...and sci-fi and horror, of course.
  6. Heavy Visuals '69: Electronic Cinema and Experimental Film
    September 23, 2009 | Northwest Film Forum
    Presented as part of the year-long series 69, celebrating the films of 1969.
    Selected landmarks of the 1969 avant garde, with films by Kenneth Anger, Larry Jordan, Scott Bartlett, Jud Yalkut & Nam June Paik, Michael Whitney, Piotr Kamler, and Stephen Gebhardt. Read the program notes (PDF).
  7. Focal Points: Documentary Shorts from 1969
    October 14, 2009 | Northwest Film Forum
    Presented as part of the year-long series 69, celebrating the films of 1969.
    Films by Gene Boomer, Brian Patrick, California Newsreel, Tom Palazzolo, Stephen E. Gebhardt, and the Dept. of Defence's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Read the program notes (PDF).
  8. Halloween Spook-Show Spectacular
    October 30, 2009 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    The Swami was our Monster Of Ceremonies for an old-fashioned evening of scary short films and cartoons, plus a live seance that unleashed a terrifying torrent of ghosts, demons, and actual dancing skeletons! The audience all received death insurance in case of sudden demise from fright. Watch the trailer (by Mark Palm).
  9. Sixties Synaesthetics
    April 14, 2010 | Northwest Film Forum
    A selection of especially potent visual music films by Storm De Hirsch, Robert Breer, Jud Yalkut, Barry Spinello, Scott Bartlett, and Tony Conrad; plus a very rare screening of a 1940s Auroratone film by Cecil Stokes. Part of Visual Music, Sensory Cinema 1920s-1970s, a series co-presented with the Northwest Film Forum in association with the Center for Visual Music. The series was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment For The Arts. Visit the companion web site. Read the program notes (PDF).
  10. Stan Brakhage's Dog Star Man (1961-1964)
    August 4, 2010 | Northwest Film Forum
    Co-presented with Third Eye Cinema
    A new 16mm print of the revolutionary experimental feature-length film, presented with Stephen E. Gebhardt's short Legendary Epics Yarns and Fables. Part 2: Stan Brakhage (1969). Read the program notes (PDF).
  11. First Words: The Birth of Sound Cinema, 1895-1929
    September 23, 2010 | Northwest Film Forum (Seattle)
    Rare shorts spanning and exploring the birth and early evolution of sound film. The program included a live re-enactment of Lyman Howe's 1897 "sound film" screenings, using period 78 RPM records played live on antique hand-wound acoustic phonographs courtesy of Climax Golden Twins. Read the program notes (PDF).
  12. Mystery Theatre: Secret Cinema at the Grand Illusion
    September 27 - 30, 2010 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    A four day series of rarely-shown feature films paired with short subjects. Titles were not announced in advance (hence the mystery).
  13. Halloween Spook-Show Spectacular II: The To-Die Show
    October 31, 2010 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    Johnny Carcass hosted special guests The Mummy, The Wolf-Man, and Frankenstein's monster (who serenaded us with a song), peppered with spook-arific shorts and cartoons. But things got weird when the long-haired alien rode in on a dinosaur and declared war on Halloween...
  14. Breakaway: Films by Bruce Conner 1958-2006
    November 11, 2010 | Northwest Film Forum
    Co-presented with Third Eye Cinema
    Ten landmark short films by the legendary "found footage" filmmaker, including A Movie (1958), Television Assassination (1963-64), Valse Triste (1978), and Luke (1967-2004, shown as DigiBeta video, its original format). Read the program notes (PDF).
  15. Sci-Fi Saturday Secret Matinees
    Weekly, January 8 - March 26, 2011 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    The third installment of our Secret Matinee series, now at a new home. Weekly episodes of the original Flash Gordon serial (1936) were paired with secret sci-fi classic features organized into monthly themes: Japanese Giants, Weird Worlds, and Crazy Creatures.
  16. Michael Snow's Wavelength (1967)
    February 9, 2011 | Northwest Film Forum (Seattle)
    Co-presented with Third Eye Cinema
    A new 16mm print of the experimental classic, shown with Snow's short subject Breakfast (Table-Top Dolly) (1976). Read the program notes (PDF).
  17. The Heart of Life: Robert Enrico's trilogy of Ambrose Bierce Films
    May 8, 2011 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    A rare screening of the French director's haunting trilogy of award-winning films from 1961-62, all based on short stories by Ambrose Bierce: The Mockingbird, Chickamauga, or the River of Death, and the original unedited version of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Read the program notes (PDF).
  18. Funny Stuff: Silent Comedies and Cartoons
    July 16, 2011 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    Classic two-reeler comedies with Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, and Ben Turpin plus silent-era cartoons featuring Felix the Cat, Koko the Clown, and Bobby Bumps. Read the program notes (PDF).
  19. Visions: Animation and Abstraction. Experimental Masterpieces, 1908-1994
    August 10, 2011| Northwest Film Forum (Seattle)
    Co-presented with Third Eye Cinema
    An all-star selection of 19 experimental shorts by 15 directors, including works by Len Lye, Mary Ellen Bute, Ed Emshwiller, Stan Vanderbeek, Hans Richter, Oskar Fischinger, Émile Cohl, and others. Read the program notes (PDF).
  20. D.W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916)
    October 25, 2011 | Northwest Film Forum (Seattle)
    Griffith's legendary, influential, but rarely-shown "film fugue." Read the program notes (PDF).
  21. Secret Halloween Classic Triple Feature
    October 30, 2011 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    A marathon triple-bill of all-time classic monster movies, each paired with a Halloween cartoon or short.
  22. First Light: The Birth of Cinema, 1894-1901
    November 16, 2011 | Northwest Film Forum
    A selection of pioneering short films from the US, France, and Britain. Read the program notes (PDF).
  23. Sci-Fi Saturday Secret Matinees II
    Weekly, January 7 - March 24, 2012 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    Our fourth Secret Matinee series. Weekly episodes of the serial Buck Rogers (1939) paired with secret sci-fi classic features organized into monthly themes: Space Madness, Steampunk Adventures, and Beasts from Beyond.
  24. Experimental Memoria I: George Kuchar
    March 20, 2012 | Northwest Film Forum
    Part of the series Experimental Memoria, co-curated with Adam Sekuler.
    The feature film The Devil's Cleavage (1973), plus the short Hold Me While I'm Naked (1966). Read the program notes (PDF).
  25. Experimental Memoria II: Robert Breer
    April 18, 2012 | Northwest Film Forum
    Part of the series Experimental Memoria, co-curated with Adam Sekuler.
    A selection of 16 short films spanning the artist's career. Read the program notes (PDF).
  26. Impaired: Movies Under the Influence, 1908-1978
    April 27, 2012 | Grand Illusion Cinema (Seattle)
    Over a dozen cartoons, shorts, comedies and soundies devoted to booze, dope, altered states, and a little bit of sex. Read the program notes (PDF).
  27. Experimental Memoria III: Adolfas Mekas
    May 23, 2012 | Northwest Film Forum
    Part of the series Experimental Memoria, co-curated with Adam Sekuler.
    Mekas' first feature, Hallelujah the Hills (1963), plus the silent one-reel comedy, It's a Gift (1923). Read the program notes (PDF).
  28. Fantastical Voyages and Incredible Journeys
    August 12, 2012 | The Ritz, Alamo Drafthouse (Austin, TX)
    The inaugural meeting of the new Austin, TX chapter of The Sprocket Society, with guests from the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. A program of shorts about journeys, real and imagined. Featuring films by Georges Méliès, a rare restoration of a Western made by his brother Gaston Méliès, a 1930s adventure documentary on African Pygmies that inspired Werner Herzog to become a filmmaker, a chapter of the original Flash Gordon serial, and a cosmically psychedelic experimental work.
  29. Monster Mayhem
    October 14, 2012 | The Ritz, Alamo Drafthouse (Austin, TX)
    A special Halloween program by the Austin, TX chapter featuring a live magic performance by Ramon Galindo and the theatrical premiere of his 1964 short film, A Day of Horror, plus other rare spooky shorts on 16mm.
  30. Secret Vault of Horrors
    October 31, 2012 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    A secret Halloween double bill of pre-Code features, each shown with a selection of shorts and cartoons. For the second feature, an audience vote determined which of two different choices would be shown.
  31. AMIA Conference 2012
    Session: Collectors and Curators: Alternative Takes on Film Exhibition
    December 6, 2012 | Westin Hotel (Seattle)
    Panel presentations at the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists. Spencer Sundell spoke about The Sprocket Society, its history and activities; Brian Alter spoke about The Grand Illusion Cinema, the longest-running independent cinema in Seattle, which he currently manages. (Alain LeTourneau of 40 Frames in Portland, OR also presented his group's excellent 16mmdirectory.org web resource.) Panel co-curated by Stephen Parr (Oddball Film + Video, San Francisco) and Adam Sekuler (Northwest Film Forum, Seattle). Note: No films were shown.
  32. Saturday Secret Matinees (2013 edition)
    Weekly, January 5 - March 23, 2013 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    Our fifth Secret Matinee series. Weekly episodes of the serial Zorro's Fighting Legion (1939) paired with secret classic features – adventures and swashbucklers and more, organized into monthly themes: Heroes & Villains, Exotic Lands, and Alien Encounters.
  33. Pioneers of the Avant Garde
    January 24, 2013 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    Rare 16mm prints of 10 remarkable short experimental films made between 1921 and 1964. The program included works by Shirley Clarke, Stan VanDerBeek, Maya Deren, Charles Sheeler & Paul Strand, Man Ray, Robert Florey & Slavko Vorkapic, James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber, and others. Read the program notes (PDF).
  34. The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monster (1965)
    February 3, 2013 | The Ritz, Alamo Drafthouse (Austin, TX)
    An incredibly rare screening of a 35mm print of this utterly demented kids' movie, made by the legendary exploitation wildman, Ray Dennis Steckler. "In Laugh-O-Color!"
  35. Funny Business: Silent Comedies and Cartoons
    May 14, 2013 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    Classic two-reeler comedies starring Laurel & Hardy, Billy Bevan, and Our Gang in their second comedy ever released. Plus silent cartoons featuring Disney's Alice, Koko the Clown, and Felix the Cat. Read the program notes (PDF).
  36. Fifth Anniversalodeon
    June 5, 2013 | Northwest Film Forum
    A celebration of our fifth anniversary. This special pair of programs featured cinema treasures from our secret vaults – 22 films in all – spanning the history of film including animation, silent film, comedy, documentary, music, experiments, and more.
  37. Secret Sunday Matinees
    Weekly, August 4 – October 27, 2013 | The Ritz, Alamo Drafthouse (Austin, TX)
    The secret matinee series makes its Austin debut, with weekly episodes of the serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) showing with secret classic features including sci-fi, adventure, comedy, and crime.
  38. Ray Harryhausen Memorial Secret Double Bill
    August 15, 2013 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    A tribute to the late, great stop-motion animator with a pair of secret features that also tie in with his mentor, Willis O'Brien. Each show also included original prints of Ray's early self-produced fairy tales shorts.
  39. First Stories: Early Film Narratives, 1901-1912
    September 16, 2013 | Northwest Film Forum
    A program of short films that trace the early evolution of narrative cinema, with famous and obscure selections from America, France, and Britain. Directors included Edwin S. Porter, D.W. Griffith, Cecil Hepworth, Gaston Méliès, James Williamson, and others. Read the program notes (PDF).
  40. Silent Magic: Trick Films and Special Effects, 1895-1912
    October 20, 2013 | The Ritz, Alamo Drafthouse (Austin, TX)
    Astounding 100-year-old special effects epics by Georges Méliès, Edwin S. Porter, Segundo de Chomón, W.R. Booth, and others. Rare 16mm prints shown with musical selections both traditional and unusual (jazz, world music, avant garde). Read the program notes (PDF).
  41. Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922/1968)
    October 31, 2013 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    A rare 35mm screening of Benjamin Christensen's remarkable 1922 film Häxan, as released by producer Antony Balch in 1968 with narration by William S. Burroughs and a jazz score by Daniel Humair and Jean-Luc Ponty. This special Halloween screening was preceded by spooky cartoons and shorts, including the 1912 Thanhauser version of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. Read the program notes (PDF).
  42. Laurel & Hardy's Festival of Laffs
    December 14, 2013 | The Ritz, Alamo Drafthouse (Austin, TX)
    Four of the best two-reeler comedies ever made by Laurel & Hardy, silent and sound films from 1928 and 1929.
  43. Saturday Secret Matinees series (2014 edition)
    Weekly, Jan. 11 – Mar. 29, 2014 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    A three-month series of old fashioned weekend matinees, showing weekly episodes of the movie serial Batman and Robin (1949) paired with a classic (but secret!) feature film. Sometimes the audience got to vote on which of two different features to watch that day, and once in a while there were door prizes. The features were organized into monthly themes – Superheroes!, Tough Guys!, and B-Movie Monsters!
  44. Boop!
    February 27, 2014 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    Pre-Code cartoons, 1930-1933. Betty Boop in her wild youth, from her earliest appearances to the end of the pre-censorship era.
  45. Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
    April 10 - 14, 2014 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    A limited run featuring 35mm prints of Welles' remarkable first feature films. It included both double bill and individual screenings.
  46. Silent Magic: Trick Films and Special Effects, 1895-1912
    May 20, 2014 | Northwest Film Forum
    An expanded edition of our Oct. 2013 show. Astounding 100-year-old special effects epics by Georges Méliès, Edwin S. Porter, Segundo de Chomón, W.R. Booth, and others. Rare 16mm prints shown with musical selections both traditional and unusual (jazz, world music, avant garde). Read the program notes (PDF), fully revised and expanded from the previous show.
  47. Roger Corman's The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
    October 31, 2014 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    A special Halloween screening of the original cult classic, shown with spooky shorts (including an early 3D rarity).
  48. Cinema of the Bearded Heart: Film Dada
    December 10, 2014 | Northwest Film Forum
    An evening of Dada short films shown with live accompaniment by cellist Lori Goldston. Films by Viking Eggeling, Hans Richter, Man Ray, Fernand Léger & Dudley Murphy, and René Clair. Also shown: Un Chien andalou (1929).
  49. Hans Richter's Dreams That Money Can Buy (1948)
    December 11, 2014 | Northwest Film Forum
    Hans Richter's surrealistic omnibus feature film, with sequences co-created by Max Ernst, Marrcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Fernand Léger, and Alexander Calder; with music composed by John Cage, Paul Bowles, Darius Milhaud, David Diamond, and Louis Applebaum. Shown with Glens Falls Sequence (1937-1946), Douglas Crockford's experimental animated short which was shown at the premiere of the feature. Read the program notes (PDF).
  50. Saturday Secret Matinees series (2015 edition)
    Weekly, January 10 – March 28, 2015 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    The eighth edition of our three-month series of old fashioned weekend matinees, with weekly episodes of the movie serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) paired with a classic (but secret!) feature film. The monthly themes for the features were: Saturday Morning TV Classics (in memoriam for a lost tradition), Antique Futures (pre-1940 science fiction), and Walk Like a Wagon (classic westerns, 1939-1957).
  51. Ken Russell's The Devils (1971)
    February 20, 21, 26 and 28, 2015 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    The controversial masterpiece in a very rare multi-show run on 35mm, featuring what proved to be an even rarer 110 minute print.
  52. A-Bomb: 70 Years Since Hiroshima
    August 6, 2015 | Northwest Film Forum
    Rare 16mm films commemorate the anniversary of the first atomic bombing. Selections included kitschy Civil Defense propaganda, declassified test footage, documentaries, giant monsters, and experimental cinema.
  53. Green Slime (1968)
    October 9 & 10, 2015 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    The demented space monster co-production of Toei and MGM, presented as companion screenings during the run of The Creeping Garden, a feature-length documentary about slime mold.
  54. Halloween Monster Mania
    October 31, 2015 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    An all-monsters Halloween show of B-movie beasties, aliens, and mutations. Trailers, shorts, and a super-rare screening of an low-budget all-time classic from AIP. Part of the All Monsters Attack! film series.
  55. Saturday Secret Matinees (2016 edition)
    Weekly, January 8 – March 26, 2016 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    Three month series of 16mm screenings, showing weekly episodes of the movie serial Spy Smasher (1942) paired with classic (but secret) feature films following monthly themes: Classic Comedies, Serial Heroes & Heroines, and Fantasy and Adventure. February concluded with a special program devoted to the silent serials, with a short documentary, rare trailers, and full episodes of The Hazards of Helen (1914) starring Helen Holmes, The Exploits of Elaine (1914) with Pearl White, and Trail of the Octopus (1919).
  56. '50s Drive-In Monster Double Feature
    October 26, 2016 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    Super-rare screening of two iconic 1950s monster movie classics, plus horror-themed shorts and cartoons from the same period (including an anaglyphic 3D digest of Creature from the Black Lagoon). Part of the All Monsters Attack! film series.
  57. Election Cavalcade: Democracy on 16mm, 1932-1927
    October 27, 2016 | Northwest Film Forum
    An election-time salute to the democratic process, with a slate of 16mm cartoons, mini-documentaries, satire, and propaganda. Contenders vying for your vote included Bugs Bunny, William McKinley, Shirley Temple, FDR, Sammy Davis Jr., Anita Bryant, and Betty Boop. Audio recordings of vintage campaign songs were played prior to showtime.
  58. Saturday Secret Matinees (2017 edition)
    Weekly, January 7 – March 25, 2017 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    This year's annual three-month series offers weekly episodes of the serial Undersea Kingdom (1936), shown complete and in order. Each show also includes a secret classic feature film, following monthly themes: Giant Monsters, Art-House Cinema, and TV Time (with various cartoons, Saturday morning shows and more).
  59. 16mm Smut Show
    March 28, 2017 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    Co-presented with the Seattle Erotic Cinema Society and Something Weird Video
    A program by the Seattle Erotic Cinema Society (SECS), featuring archival 16mm prints of sex-themed films courtesy of The Sprocket Society and Something Weird Video. Films included nudies from the 1920s, stag from the 1930s, and explicit cartoons from the 1960s.
  60. Damsels of Doom: Horror B-Movie Double Feature
    October 24, 2017 | Grand Illusion Cinema
    A special Halloween double bill of B-movie chillers from the 1950s and '60s, with spooky shorts and door prizes before each feature: Queen of Blood (Curtis Harrington, 1966) plus another secret AIP monster classic with a female creature. Presented as part of the annual All Monsters Attack! film series.