Capturing an Oneiric State: Dreams and Film with Jane Schoenbrun

June 5, 2021 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

You sit in a dark room, focus in on the glowing light of the movie screen in front of you, and enter a new state of consciousness: one in which place, time, and identity are suddenly fluid, where you are free to float through a slipstream of light and sound.

Critics and filmmakers have long been aware of the intimate connection between the filmmaking medium and the dream state, but how specifically do artists use the tools of cinema to replicate such an ephemeral experience as getting lost in a dream? Join filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun (We’re All Going to the World’s FairThe Eyeslicer, collective:unconscious) for a personal tour through the history, theory, and practice of dreams on film, from the early surrealism of Maya Deren to present-day masters like David Lynch, all the way to Schoenbrun’s own work. We’ll look at case studies that illustrate the tools, rules, and cinematic ideals that have been used to immerse viewers within an oneiric state throughout cinema history, and attempt to answer the question: what does it take to effectively transport one’s dreams to the screen?

Jane Schoenbrun (they/she) is a non-binary filmmaker, producer, and curator currently in post-production on their narrative feature debut We’re All Going to the World’s Fair. Jane is the co-creator of The Eyeslicer, director of A Self-Induced Hallucination, a producer on Aaron Schimberg’s Chained for Life, an EP on season one of Terence Nance’s Random Acts of Flyness (HBO), the creator of the omnibus ‘dream film’ collective:unconscious (SXSW 2016), and the founder of the Radical Film Fair, which drew 2,000+ attendees in its first year. Jane has served as the Film Lead at Kickstarter and the Associate Director of Programming at IFP.

Tuition: $80

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The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.