Manual Cinema


MANUAL CINEMA combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic motifs, and live sound manipulation to create immersive theatrical stories. Using overhead projectors, multiple screens, paper puppets, actors, live feed cameras, and a live band, Manual Cinema transforms the experience of attending the cinema and imbues it with liveness, ingenuity, and theatricality. They aim to combine the lightness of film with the heaviness of theater. Manual Cinema translates cinematic language into analogue shadow puppetry, emulating montage, camera movement, and depth of field using handmade visual effects. Inspired by early cinema, stories are conveyed without dialogue, relying instead on rich, multi-channel sound design and live music.

Mementos Mori is a lively, beguiling meditation on death and dying.  When Death takes an unexpected holiday, an elderly film projectionist finds a new lease on life; a ghost explores the afterlife with her iPhone; and a seven-year-old girl discovers her own mortality. In Manual Cinema’s most ambitious show to date, a cast of six puppeteers use hundreds of paper puppets, seven overhead projectors, two cameras, and three screens to create a live “movie” in front of the audience. Accompanied by four musicians and live sound effects, the result is a rich mosaic of cinematic storytelling all performed live with puppets.  Manual Cinema rehearsed for Mementos Mori at the National Museum of Health + Medicine Chicago during December 2014 and January 2015.

Mementos Mori premiered January 15-18, 2015 at the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the Chicago International Puppetry Festival!


Learn more about Mementos Mori here!

Visit the Manual Cinema website here!


Manual Cinema's Mementos Mori (Official Trailer) from Manual Cinema on Vimeo.



*Images & text taken from the Manual Cinema Website.