monthly Movie screening

Our November 2020 movie pick is GATHER 

directed by Sanjay Rawal

Our monthly movie screening is a small group discussion series that dives into real-world applications of new ideas learned from our monthly watch. It is open and free for anyone to join, for as many or as few sessions as desired.


These 1.5-2 hour conversations are moderated by our internal Studio ATAO team and kept to a maximum of 10 participants per session.

Our Patreon members help pick each month's movie, and receive early access to our monthly discussions. You can join our patron family here - tiers start at just $5/month.

Past movies

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Some questions from our discussion included:

1. Who wields what forms of power in the film? How do these power dynamics cause the characters to fail one another? 

  • What social and cultural forces influence Alex’s behaviors, and lead him to act as he does towards Olivia? 
  • How do politics in our own lives influence who gets to love & who gets to forgive?
  • When there is a real power imbalance, can you have a real, full relationship?

2. How do the characters become intimate with one another? What is “home” for them?

  • How do you start this process of developing intimacy with those who seem/are radically different from you?

3. Transness, as represented in the media, is often focused on when/how people disclose their gender identity. Director Isabel Sandoval doesn’t let this be the main thing in the story; she even makes her passport photo + name obscure in the film. Where does Alex’s and our society’s anxiety to “know” someone’s transness come from?

September 2020

Lingua Franca

Directed by Isabel Sandoval

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Some questions in our discussion guide are:

1. What are the different pathways to prison as described in the film?​

  • Who is involved, and what kind of power dynamics perpetuate these pathways? 

  • What are the systems and logics that allow the “prison” system to exist?

2. How do our communities unwittingly and unintentionally perpetuate systemic oppression within the prison system? ​

  • How does power work to target vulnerable communities, while allowing the worst offenders to slip through? What are instances of arbitrary versus intentional discrimination at play?

  • How does the prison system affect our relationships to one another? 

3. What is the purpose of punishment and prisons in America? 

  • How would you define a “criminal”? As a society, what do we think “criminals” deserve? Why?

  • Is it possible to disrupt the way we think about prisons and punishment? Especially when we are confronted with real instances of harm, such as with sexual abuse or physical violence, how might we reframe “criminality”?

August 2020

The Prison in 12 Landscapes

Directed by Brett Story

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Site Credits

Photography: Stacey Salter Moore, Briana Balducci, Joseph Magnelli, David Chow, BK Narayanan, David Nguyen

Videography: Federica Nanfeng, Sarah M. Park

© 2020 by Studio ATAO, Inc. A 501(c)3 nonprofit.