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the team

SPLITBEAM is a web-based directory of underground, artist-run, and noncommercial cinemas paired with a distribution module designed to help non-institutional programmers and emerging makers collaborate to expand experimental cinema distribution across North America.

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Splitbeam is a web platform that engages ideas of distributed collaboration, fair compensation,and curatorial authority. The website is at once a useful tool for existing non-institutional cinemas and a how-to guide for future spaces. Splitbeam houses an open, expandable infrastructure for programmers and makers to self-organize a broader network for the distribution of cinema art. It encourages the creation of new presenters and audiences outside of major urban areas by making best exhibition practices transparent and easily transferrable. Splitbeam prizes gift/grey market economies that are attached to, rather than divorced from, personal collaboration. The site allows artists and cinema presenters to stipulate a range of screening fees in order to create standards of fair compensation. Splitbeam also archives the unwieldy history of microcinema exhibition by its very nature. As presenters and artists use the site, a transparent record of geographical ties, personal relationships, and exhibition histories will accumulate.

Aided by a generous grant from The Propeller Fund, the site is currently in development, and tentatively scheduled to launch in the fall of 2013. Any questions about the site may be directed to Christy LeMaster at christylemaster@gmail.com.

Christy LeMaster (Lead)

is the Director of The Nightingale, a microcinema located in Chicago's Noble Square neghborhood. She has programmed screenings for Chicago Filmmakers, Chicago Film Forum, The Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, The Chicago Underground Film Festival, Chicago Film Archives, and Intuit Gallery. She teaches Semiotics and Media Theory at Columbia College Chicago in The Interactive Arts and Media Department. She has been a movie critic on the NPR Chicago affiliate, WBEZ's morning show 848 and CINE-FILE.info. She was a 2011 Flaherty Film SemiFellow and a Summer Forum 2012 resident.

Michael Castelle (back end)

is an developer, educator and researcher based in Chicago, IL who has formal academic and/or work experience in fields as diverse as computer science, neurology / neurosurgery, history of technology, and sociology. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Chicago and has created and taught courses at both the University of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology. He also leads specialized training sessions on the internals of the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) specification / Digital Cinema Package (DCP) for independent exhibitors and film festivals.

Nick Briz (front end)

is a new-media artist, educator, and organizer based in Chicago, IL. His work has shown internationally at festivals and institutions, including the FILE Media Arts Festival (Rio de Janeiro, BR); Miami Art Basel; the Images Festival (Toronto, CA) and The Museum of Moving Image (NYC). He has lectured and organized events at numerous institutions including STEIM (Amsterdam, NL) the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Marwen Foundation, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He develops commercial projects with Branger_Briz for clients such as Goya, ESPN and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. His work is distributed through Video Out Distribution (Vancouver, CA) as well as openly and freely on the web.

Sonnenzimmer (design)

is the Chicago-based studio of Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi. Merging backgrounds in typography, printmaking, graphic design and fine art, they create hand-crafted posters, books, and music packaging for a wide array of clients. Beginning as a shared painting studio, equipped with industrial screen printing equipment, the venture quickly morphed into a design and print studio specializing in hand-crafted prints and design for some of the city’s most recognized cultural institutions. As image making is becoming more and more present in commerce and enjoying a true revival in print making and painting, they hope their mixture of fine and applied art will be looked at as complimentary assets. That people understand they are not mutually exclusive. They are interested in idiosyncratic imagery. This is explored through many lenses of an ongoing practice – may it be of collaborative, experimental, or commercial nature.