Rooftop Cinema

Film and video under the stars

Associations, John Smith, UK, 1975.

GargantuanJohn Smith, UK, 1992.

Pas de Deux, Norman McLaren, Canada, 1968.

The Black Tower, John Smith, UK, 1987.

Glas, Bert Haanstra, Holland, 1958.

The Way Things Go (Der Lauf der Dinge), Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Switzerland, 1987.

BreakawayBruce Conner, US, 1966.

The Girl Chewing Gum, John Smith, UK, 1976.

Ryan, Chris Landreth, Canada, 2004.

Neighbours, Norman McLaren, Canada, 1952.

Bring a friend, bring a blanket or camp chair, and prepare yourself for a magical evening of avant-garde and alternative films and videos under the stars. Rooftop Cinema returns in June for its tenth season in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Rooftop Sculpture Garden. To celebrate a decade of rooftop screenings, this season features highlights from the past nine years. 

Films begin at sundown, approximately 9:30 pm in June and 8:00 pm in August. Camp chairs and blankets are welcome. Rooftop Cinema is free for MMoCA members/$7 for non-members; admission begins at the lobby reception desk one hour before screen time. Prior to the films, enjoy music by Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra ensembles. Screenings relocate to the lecture hall if rain is predicted.

Rooftop Cinema is a program of MMoCA's education department and is curated by Tom Yoshikami, with technical support provided by Mike King. The film series is generously sponsored by maiahaus and Venture Investors LLC, with media sponsorship from Footlights and Yelp Madison.


For more information, contact Tom Yoshikami.

Follow Rooftop Cinema on Facebook and Twitter.

June 5: W.O.R.D. G.A.M.E.S.

W.O.R.D. G.A.M.E.S. is a hilarious collection of shorts, all of which hinge on creative uses of language and invite audience participation.

Associations (John Smith, UK, 1975, 16mm, 7 min.)

Test (Kerry Laitala, USA, 1998, 16mm, 3 min.)

Bleu Shut (Robert Nelson, USA, 1970, 16mm, 30 min.)

Gargantuan (John Smith, UK, 1992, 16mm, 1 min.)


June 12: Powers of Light and Space

Bring a friend, bring a blanket or camp chairs, and prepare yourself for an evening of avant-garde films and videos under the stars. Rooftop Cinema returns for its tenth season to the museum’s rooftop sculpture garden and will feature some of the best films from the past nine years of this popular film series. Films begin at sundown.

Pas de Deux (Norman McLaren, Canada, 1968, digital, 13 min.)

Blues (Larry Gottheim, USA, 1970, 16mm, 8 min.)

The Black Tower (John Smith, UK, 1987, 16mm, 24 min.)

Powers of Ten (New Version) (Charles and Ray Eames, USA, 1977, 16mm, 8 min.)


June 19: Cause and Effect

"Cause and Effect" is anchored by one of Rooftop’s most popular films – gauged by the number of patrons dining in Fresco that 2008 evening who abandoned their dinner to stare out at the screen – Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s incredible, Rube Goldberg-like chain reaction in The Way Things Go.

Frank Film (Frank and Caroline Mouris, USA, 1952, 16mm, 9 min.)

Glas (Bert Haanstra, Holland, 1958, 16mm, 12 min.)

The Way Things Go (Der Lauf der Dinge) (Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Switzerland, 1987, 30 min., 16mm.)



“Slow Movement”, a collection of four favorites screened on June 26, includes John Smith’s hilarious Girl Chewing Gum, and JJ Murphy’s mesmerizing Sky Blue Water Light Sign.

Breakaway (Bruce Conner, US, 1966, 16mm, 5 min.

The Girl Chewing Gum (John Smith, UK, 1976, 16mm, 12 min.)

Sky Blue Water Light Sign (JJ Murphy, USA, 1972, 16mm, 9 min.)

Turning Over (Morgan Fisher, 1973, USA, digital, 15 min.)


August 21: our animated worlds

Rooftop Cinema concludes in August with “Our Animated Worlds,” a collection of five of the most creative and beloved animated shorts shown over the years.

Spiral (Emily Breer, USA, 1987, 16mm, 12 min.)

Trikfilm 3 (George Griffin, USA, 1973, 16mm, 4 min.)

Ryan (Chris Landreth, Canada, 2004, digital, 14 min.)

Neighbours (Norman McLaren, Canada, 1952, digital, 9 min.)

The Lost Thing (Andrew Ruhemann, Shaun Tan, Australia, 2010, digital, 15 min.)