Cathy Crane

Cathy Crane

Associate Professor, Media Arts, Sciences and Studies
Faculty, Cinema and Photography

Specialty:DIRECTING Actors for Film
Phone:(607) 274-1035
Office:340 Roy H Park Hall
Ithaca, NY 14850


CATHY LEE CRANE is the recipient of the 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship in Film-Video. She had previously received a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Fellowship for Film and a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. Her work has been invited to screen at the National Gallery of Art in 2015 as part of their new series American Originals Now. Having received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1990, Cathy moved to the West Coast to pursue her Masters of Fine Arts degree at San Francisco State University. While there, she was nominated for and won numerous awards including the Eastman Kodak scholarship in 1997 as "one of the United States' most promising talents of the future generation of filmmakers." In addition to numerous international film festival screenings, her short films received the following recognition.

Not for Nothin' (1996) won best black-and-white cinematography in a short film at the 1996 Cork International Film Festival in Ireland. Time Out/New York called it "a lush, meditative film that eschews stylistic and narrative convention."

The Girl from Marseilles (2000) won a Golden Gate Certificate of Merit in New Visions from the San Francisco International Film Festival and received its world premiere at the 2000 Vienna International Film Festival. RE/Search magazine hailed it as "a rare experience of art, a gorgeously photographed film poem." It is now a part of the permanent collection at the Forum des Images in Paris.

All of her short films have been broadcast on television in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland by ZDF/3sat and were presented in a special filmmaker portrait in Germany at the Oldenburg Film Festival in April 2001 as well as in the United States on the Southern Circuit in March 2003. She has also directed music videos, created installations, and photographed numerous films for other directors, including I Thought I Was Seeing Convicts, the feature-length documentary and installation project she also researched for Harun Farocki. She has been commissioned by the Aurora Picture Show in Houston to premiere an original multi-projector installation entitled BeeFilm in May 2015. She has lectured on the intersections between queer and experimental cinema and has curated a dozen short film programs in San Francisco, New York, and Europe, including the six-part series Queer Innovators, co-curated with Jim Hubbard for the 1998 San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

As the recipient of a 2001 Individual Artist Media Arts Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission she launched the production of her full-length film Unoccupied Zone: The Impossible Life of Simone Weil (2006) which received the Jury Award in Narrative from the University Film and Video Association (UFVA) in 2006, toured the Southern Circuit in 2008, and was the centerpiece for two events at Cornell University and St. Olaf College celebrating the centennial of Weil's birth in 2009. It was acquired for educational distribution in 2013 by Films Media Group/Films for the Humanities and Sciences.  A major portion of this film was produced with Ithaca College students in key production roles during the Spring 2004 semester. (see PHOTO GALLERY).

In the last few years, she completed two projects on 16mm. Adrift, a short film shot in Rome, enjoyed its world premiere at the Big Muddy Festival in 2009 and is included in the DVD compilation The Journal of Short Film No. 21. On the Line received its world premiere at the Athens International Film Festival in 2010. In 2012, she completed her first short narrative film shot on HD. Adapted from an original story by Alexandra Chasin entitled Composer & I, the film was photographed by former I.C. student Sherri Kauk ('05) in Paris, France during 2011. It premiered at the Athens International Film Festival in their Narrative Competition. Her latest film, Pasolini's Last Words, an experimental full-length biography on the last year of Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini's life, enjoyed its world premiere in 2012 as a "gem of world cinema" in the Panorama International Section of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal. It went on to be a part of major Pasolini retrospectives at the British Film Institute in London, the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, Arsenal in Berlin. The film was reviewed in the Brooklyn Rail when it screened at Union Docs in Brooklyn at the conclusion of the MoMA retrospective in 2012.

She is currently developing a WW1 Centennial project entitled The Manhattan Front. Many of the film's conceptual design elements were developed with IC students in a Practicum Course on the Art of Preproduction. (see PHOTO GALLERY) In addition to a feature-length film, the project is developing story elements for access across mobile devices, the web, and through a graphic novel with former IC students.



  • Pasolini's Last Words (2012) Combining staged and archival material, this elegiac essay film considers Pier Paolo Pasolini's brutal murder in 1975 alongside the texts he published or left unfinished during his last year.

  • Composer and I (2012) On the eve of Le Pen's defeat in the 2002 French presidential election, an American writer must face a bombastic inner voice before it ruins everything.  

  • On the Line (2010) an experimental documentary that charts a journey to the Tropic of Cancer around the Baja cape.

  • Adrift (2009) follows a woman who has come to Rome to die. On her journey through the city’s fountains, she encounters a young girl who taunts her with visions of lost innocence.

  • Unoccupied Zone: The Impossible Life of Simone Weil (2006) An experimental biography of the French writer & philosopher's exile in her own country under Vichy. Reviewed here.

  • Le Taxi (2003) Two Americans unravel under the gaze of their Parisian taxi driver.

  • Meal (2002) A radio talk show caller discusses Muhommad Atta's last meal. (Distributor: World Artists)

  • The Girl from Marseilles (2000) A fictional memoir gives voice to the woman who haunts Andre Breton's 1927 Surrealist novel Nadja.

  • Sketches after Halle (1997) A collision of separate pasts pieces together fragments of the director's own images and text from the East German town of Halle with those produced by Bauhaus painter Lyonel Feininger in 1930.

  • Not for Nothin' (1996) An homage to early film musicals explores a world teeming with the mysteries of longing and death as Louise Brooks look-alike Rodney O'Neal Austin searches for the beloved.

  • white city (1994) The cacophony of grieving opens onto the deep quiet of mourning in this poetic journey that explores mortality as the psychic space of dwelling.