Moonplay Cinema supports gender diverse filmmakers through radical generosity, growth, and visibility.
Moonplay Cinema supports gender-marginalized filmmakers through advocacy, partnership building, educational opportunities, and event programming.
We use community-building strategies to offer safe spaces for connection and collaboration, ultimately creating more possibilities, resources, and visibility for the artistic careers of artists underserved within the filmmaking community. We are experimental moving image artists, animators, narrative filmmakers, and documentarians. Currently, 48% of our participants are BIPOC artists, 70% identify as LGBTQ+, and 20% live with a disability.
Jes Reyes founded Moonplay Cinema in September 2019 by collaborating with artists Kiera Faber, Andrea Shaker, and Molly Parker Stuart. We aimed to create a microcinema program with quarterly screenings. Due to the pandemic, we canceled the screenings, and pivoted by creating two remote programs: a podcast called Where to From Here and the Consortium, a virtual support group for filmmakers of diverse genders.
A cohort of gender-marginalized artists practicing in moving image mediums is rising from our current programming, demonstrating a need for our resources. We are scaling up our services to meet this need so that we can build capacity and reach more people who need our support and community. Thus, our 2023/24 educational and event programming includes expanding access to mentorship, workshops, and professional development materials. These resources are often neglected as part of film-based educational programming. We seek to resolve this through our commitment to supporting underserved and underrepresented filmmakers who work across many different genres and mediums.
Jes Reyes - Director/Founder
Jes Reyes (she/they) is an interdisciplinary artist, artist organizer, and art facilitator practicing mixed media art, textiles, video, and more. Her artwork is rooted in play, vulnerability, experimentation, collaboration, and the blending of disciplines. She has exhibited and screened her artwork throughout the Twin Cities and is the founder of the Altered Esthetics Film Festival and Moonplay Cinema. An extension of Jes's art practice is to bring artists and people together, building larger and stronger creative, compassionate, supportive, and responsive communities. Jes identifies as queer, feminist, and punk. She is passionate about equitable arts access and offering support to other creatives. Jes received a Master of Liberal Studies from the University of Minnesota. Her Bachelor of Art is in Film & Electronic Arts and Women’s Studies from California State University, Long Beach.
Moonplay Cinema's Advisory Committee is a community of artists, curators, and film programmers offering Moonplay Cinema advice, feedback, unique skills, and general support. Current members include:
Andrea Shaker (she/her/hers) lives on Dakota and Annishaabe lands. She grew up in a small town in Connecticut on Quiripi lands. She savored her Sito’s stories, along with Sito’s dihan and eggs and lebneh wa na’na’. After earning her BA from Georgetown University and MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she moved to Minnesota, where she is a professor of art at the College of St. Benedict + St. John’s University. She currently lives with her family in Minnesota.
Shaker’s creative work is interdisciplinary, spanning photography, moving image, experimental film, and written and spoken word. As an Arab American, she explores the spaces in-between home, homeland and migration. Through moving & still image, objects and word her creative practice addresses how these spaces, and the movement of the body within these spaces, are imagined and experienced through the physiology of intergenerational memory.
Xiaolu Wang (she/they) is an emerging documentary filmmaker and a translator from the Hui Muslim Autonomous Region of China, whose practice is based in the mapping of interiority, with the use of video, poetry, memory, translations, and a decolonial lens. Their work have been screened at local venues and international film festivals in countries like Lebanon, Mexico, China, and Argentina. They contributed translations to journals including 单读, onlimbo, and Cinephila.
When they are not studying films, Xiaolu helps out at a friend's donation-based food pop-up, "The Shui Project", or reads the Tao Te Ching. They are a recipient of the 2019 Jerome Film and Media Grant, a fellow of DocX Archive Lab 2021 organized by Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, and their work has been generously supported by Metropolitan Regional Arts Council of Minnesota, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, Jerome Foundation, Women Make Movies, and UnionDocs. They live in Minneapolis with two cats, Marvin and Moto, who sleep on separate couches.
Simone LeClaire (she/her) is a woman filmmaker and a white queer person who has lived her life across vastly different Minnesotan cultures, feeling simultaneously odd and at home in all of them. In her pleasure-based, feminist, and anticapitalist filmmaking practice, Simone is guided by how film might facilitate healing, and how to keep creative processes healthy, truthful, and abundant. Her work most often centers on femme characters and relationships, and is highly curious about internal processes, quiet revelations, and self-reconciliation. Simone also repeatedly draws on imagery of the natural world to create peacefulness with her work. Her films tend to actively integrate both her own autobiography and the impacts of genuine, transformative collaboration, with finished films reflecting the presence of both.
With editing a central part of her filmmaking practice, Simone is the director/editor of seven narrative shorts, which have received awards and screened at over fifty film festivals around the country; currently in post-production of her debut feature, Sunflower Man, a documentary about transience, flowers, and a man living with schizoaffective disorder; and collaboratively developing her first narrative feature, a heart-centered exploration of Minnesotan landscape, racialized identity, and female friendship. She currently makes her home in Minneapolis.
Molly Parker Stuart is an interdisciplinary artist best known for her work in experimental video. Molly works with and within digital structures to transform the digital artifacts generated by the social structures that affect her life. Artifacts that represent difficult or oppressive experiences. This data is broken down into its constituent parts and used to create video works that speak directly to the body, to convey a whole body experience of beauty.
Valérie Déus (she/her) is a poet, film programmer and radio show host. Her work has been featured in Minnesota Women’s Press, The Brooklyn Rail, Midway, the St. Paul Almanac, The BeZine, A Garden of Black Joy anthology and Under Purple Skies: A Minneapolis Anthology her most recent essay is featured in What We Hunger For- Refugee and Immigrant Stories about Food and Family edited by Sun Yung Shin published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. When she's not writing, she is the host of Project 35, a local low-fi radio show on KRSM radio. She curates FilmNorth’s Cinema Lounge and is the Shorts Programmer for the Provincetown International Film Festival.
Michelle Baroody (she/her) holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Minnesota. Her scholarship, pedagogy, and programming rethink how the production, collection, exhibition, and international circulation of Arab/Arab American film and literary texts mediate the representation of Arab/Arab American life. She has served as curator and director for multiple film projects in the Twin Cities, including the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival and Italian Film Festival of Minneapolis-St. Paul. She is a board member at the Trylon Cinema in Minneapolis and editor of Trylon's blog, Perisphere. She also serves on the advisory board of Flip the Script, a hybrid, queer film festival in Minnesota.
Moonplay Cinema is a fiscally sponsored project of Springboard for the Arts. Our generous funders include independent donors and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.