Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Meet Our Summer Interns

Aurora welcomes 2015 Summer interns Dana Suleymanova, Kendall Ayers and Alistair Jones.

Dana will be joining Aurora for the Summer as the ExxonMobil CSJP Summer Filmmaking Apprentice.  This position is made possible thanks to the support of ExxonMobil and Volunteer Houston.  As a full-time intern, Dana would be responsible for managing our Summer education programs for youth offered, specifically our Boot Camps where youth learn about, create and discuss film and video.  In addition to administering the management of the program, the apprentice would also work at the camps as an instructor. Furthermore, this role would be vital to assisting with all Mobile Media Literacy programs under the supervision of Media Arts Education Manager Camilo Gonzalez.

Born in Uzbekistan but raised in America, Dana is a current student at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Studio Art and seeking a second major in Radio Television and Film. A graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dana has lived in Houston for about 5 years and is excited to return for the summer and work with Aurora Picture Show. Dana has had a passion for story telling ever since she was young and now she has translated this passion into creating her own stop motion animations. In addition to animation, Dana also uses sculpture, drawing, and performance to help express her narratives She has had the opportunity to show in the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, Jung Center, and the Bayou City Arts Festival and is excited for the chance to give back to her community by helping teach at Aurora Picture Show.



Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Alistair is currently in his senior year at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he is pursuing a major in History and a secondary major in Film and Digital Media. A graduate of St. Thomas High School, Alistair is excited to return for the summer to work with Aurora Picture Show in order to strengthen the skills he has learned from his classes. In his free time, Alistair likes to read books and watch movies on historical topics.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring 2015 Intern Announcement and Program Review

It is always exciting to introduce our interns to the Aurora fan congregation.  Aurora really adores our helper bee army of student volunteers.  Their support keep our wheels turning, and in return we provide them with valuable hands-on experience working for a non-profit media arts center. Past interns have gone on to successful careers in arts non-profits, as artists themselves, and to further education opportunities. This Spring, we have only one intern - but what a good one he is.  Please allow us to introduce our fans to A.B. If you see him at an event, please say hello and welcome him to the Aurora film family.

Ashura Bayyan
My legal name is Ashura Bayyan, but call me A.B. Lovelady. Lovelady is my family surname, it's also a city is Houston County, Texas. The city has a total area of about 1.1 square miles, and as of the 2000 census the population was 600 people. I often wonder how much it would cost to buy the entire city. I'm only 22, so according to the World Bank life expectancy projections I can expect another solid 53 years. I figure I can find the money sometime along that timeline. Helloooo 2068...or goodbye? Idk.

For now though, I live in Houston. I travel often, read ferociously, study film and contemporary art fastidiously. I actually believe art predicts the future, unfortunately I haven't been able to provide any definite proofs...

Depending on whether im starving or not, my body fat will float between 10-13, which is great news as far as my aesthetic and athletic ambitions are concerned.

My life goal, is to be independently wealthy and successful by other peoples standards. I won reserve grand champion for my pig at the Aldine Livestock Show of 2008, that experience really resonated with me, as a result I'd like to build and manage a fully operational pig farm some time before 2068. (sidenote: my father is muslim and I have not discussed this with him, but he is sure to object)

I am truly privileged to have the opportunity to work with Aurora Picture Show, I cannot dutifully express what this experience is providing for me, my friends, and my artistic future.


As part of A.B.'s experience at Aurora Picture Show, he wrote a review of a show that was hosted by Aurora Picture Show at the Eldorado Ballroom. I hope that you enjoy his review of The Black Utopia LP by Cauleen Smith:

About Last Night

Aliens on Dowling

by Ashura Bayyan

It was on the corner of Elgin and Dowling, on the very last day in February, at the Eldorado Ballroom. Eldorado was once the nucleus of black culture for Houston’s’ Third Ward, after it was built in 1939 the ballroom hosted social club events and entertainment from local bands and major touring acts, including Ray Charles, Etta James and Jimmy Reed.

After desegregation the power of the black dollar was no longer concentrated in small communities, which, coupled with facts of a changing musical taste of the youth, led to the decline of Eldorado and the third ward economy in general.

Today, Project Row Houses (PRH) owns the building. PRH is arguably the most significant arts & community service arts organization in the city of Houston. They use the facility as a special performance venue, meeting site and as a concert hall, rightfully so.

On this night though, February 28th, 2015, there is an art performance by Cauleen Smith, the internationally recognized California born filmmaker and experimental artist. Aurora Picture Show, a non-profit media-arts center, has brought her here in collaboration with PRH, to present a work titled “Black Utopia”, “a double vinyl LP record paired with 34mm slides, synchronized in live cinematic performance”.  Black Utopia is an anthropological collage of sound and photo, devoted to Afrofuturism- a cultural movement that “mixes science fiction, fantasy, non-western religion and Afro centrism.”1

The highly acclaimed jazz icon Sun Ra (1914-93) was a key figure in this movement, and the LP contains lectures, rehearsals, and live performances by he and his band, “The Arkestra”. The accompanying images span a wide berth of objects and spaces, which fall under the umbrella of Afrofuturist philosophy. Over 800 35mm slides curated and produced by Cauleen, gathered from found archives, historical records, scientific sources, and her own photography.

The event called for a giant screen, a record player, a 35 mm projector, chairs, water, and Saint Arnold’s beer, that’s all. In terms of the method used for the presentation, it was not very technically demanding, Cauleen stands behind the projector after being introduced by Mary Magsamen the chief curator for Aurora Picture Show. A member of the staff boards a window, stopping the streetlight from leaking in, the ballroom becomes dark and the show begins.

The streams of images were unpredictable and often times they were as abstract as the jazz playing in the air. The ballroom is still, and the pulse of the music swims above us, bouncing against the high ceiling. The sounds of the album are bizarre, washing over our heads demanding a reaction, but what kind? Understanding? Compromise? Revolution? It’s hard to tell at this point.

The music continues, interwoven with faux news reports about astronauts named Malcolm X and Nat King Cole. Even when the music thins out, with little or no clear orchestration, there is still the constant click, click, click, click of Cauleen working the projector.

The images continue, and as the experience goes on I am able to describe them better. They are cosmic, scientific, and disconcerting. There is no movement on screen, but the space seems to dance with the notes from the speakers, as we, the audience, try to associate the sometimes un-associable.

Frankly I’m not sure how to judge a presentation like this, I mean, its different?

The slide changes, and a photo of a typed letter lingers on the screen longer than expected. Cauleen is giving us time to read it completely. “Come my brothers to the blackness of outer space”, signed, Sun Ra. Words like outer space; celestial, interstellar, and intergalactic come up repeatedly throughout this show.

 I can easily see the attraction to Afrofuturism, the theories and philosophies often reflect a mystical version of true reality. For Sun Ra and other Afrofuturist, day to day living in America is viewed through the context of African mythology, 20th century techno culture, and science fiction. Social exclusion of African Americans can be easily paralleled to a number of narratives regarding extra terrestrials and alienation. The social status of the black man in America is aptly described as “the alien”, “the other”, “the extraterrestrial” brought here to this nation then stranded and isolated.

I was disinterested at first in the method of using a slide projector to show the images, I felt that its only purpose was to lend the piece an archival mood. Coleen interjects periodically with annotations or accompanying facts for specific slides. Sitting, watching each image click by on the screen displaces me, and for a moment I am entertained by the thought of what a secret government security briefing felt like in 1964, during the peak of American civil rights movement.

The show ended with what I can only describe as an interstellar praise dance. The lights came on and Cauleen emerged from behind the screen wearing two metallic space blankets, joined together as a bag, which she had pulled down to cover her entire body.

I see the variety of faces looking at her curiously, and I realize that this LP exhibition is not merely archival. It’s given the people in this audience a format to continue exploring alienation and the black experience in a country that continues to change its face and its politics. The style of delivery is coy, and subversive, yet clear without using fiery rhetoric or aggression. It’s not a universal message, each spectators interprets the slides and the corresponding soundtrack uniquely and individually. No two people will walk away with the same impression of Afrofuturism, similar to people responses on race relations in the U.S. today.

Cauleen’s space funk inspired praise dance is a performance unto itself, separate from the LP and the 35 mm slides, and demanding to be acknowledged. It’s a polite intervention in the daily routine of the people attending this show, and a reminder that she too has and possibly still does feel alienated in this country. She ends the night with a bow, stating that this may be her last time doing this performance. I hope that is not true. Cauleen’s presentation provides a necessary discourse, and taking into account pop culture trends, I suspect that it’s easier for society to interpret her artwork as social commentary than it is to follow the message of any social activist or politician. She is a black artist, a bit too diverse to be given a single label, but judging by the variety of faces in the audience she speaks to a number of races. In this sense Afrofuturism is right at home here in the historic third ward, where the social landscape has continued to change dramatically over the past 20 years. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Meet our Fall Interns!

It is that time of the year again!  Please allow us to introduce you to our new interns, Kelly Mann and Elizabeth Flake.  These invaluable volunteers work with us for a semester as part of our outreach to college students.  During their time at Aurora, they will gain valuable hands-on experience and connections that will help prepare them for their next steps.  Interns assist with screenings, publicity, and education amongst other projects.  Next time you see them at an event, please be sure to say "Howdy" and "Thank you" as their support helps keep our wheels turning.

Elizabeth is beginning her senior year at the University of Houston, pursuing a bachelors degree in communication. She has interests in film, editing, and photography, while also being the proud mother of two furry felines.

Kelly is originally from Katy, Texas but has since moved to Houston to be closer to her family.  Her love for Disney took her to Walt Disney World through the Disney College Program where she got to fulfill her childhood dream of having Mickey Mouse as her boss. But, it was Kelly’s even bigger love for film and television that led her to graduate from Texas Christian University with a B.S. in Film, Television, and Digital Media.  During her free time she likes binge-watching anything and everything on Netflix and reading cheesy YA novels.  Kelly is so excited to be interning at Aurora Picture Show and can’t wait to see what the semester will bring!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Meet Summer 2014 Aurora Helper Bees

This Summer we are buzzing with activity and thanks to the help of an army of interns, the staff plan to keep our cool.  Each semester Aurora welcomes a fresh crop of young faces as interns. In exchange for their support with administrative responsibilities, office management and events, we offer them hands-on experience as a non-profit media arts professional.  This semester, we are happy to announce that we have FIVE helper bees.  If you have not yet met them at Aurora function, then please do say hello the next time that you join us!

Meet our Summer 2014 Intern Army:

Jacinta Molina
Senior Office Intern
After being a top-notch intern this past semester, we decided that we just could not let Jacinta go.  So Jacinta is a rare intern that we are keeping on for a second semester as a Senior Office Intern. 
I am Jacinta Molina, Fine Artist graduated from La Universidad Nacional de Colombia. My artistic creation has been mostly video art and drawing. But, I do whatever the idea needs to come alive. Currently, I am studying Film Making in the Houston Community College and I have learn many technical strategies in the video production; nevertheless,  I was starting to miss the artistic  perspective and happily I found Aurora Picture Show as  an act of fate, and based in the time I been here I can feel that my learning process will be very interesting and inspirational.  I am a lover of the audiovisual language and I spend big part of my time watching films. I do like poetry in all its possibles forms and being outside.

Marielle Brisbois
Office Intern
Marielle Brisbois, born in Houston and raised in Dallas, is a Senior at Rice University studying Film, Photography, and Psychology. Her inspiration comes from observing people and finding a way to capture raw emotion in a single image. Marielle is excited to gain first-hand professional experience working as an intern at Aurora Picture Show. Deeply passionate about the homeless community throughout Houston, her spare time is spent learning their aspirations and struggles, and then creating photographs to tell their story. She also enjoys playing pickup basketball, binging on Netflix, and anything hip-hop related.

Kirby Sokolow
Office Intern
Kirby Sokolow is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University. Although she studied Religion, she found herself dedicating all of her free time to the arts, particularly theater and film production. During her senior year, after working on an independent feature, she realized that film was a career path she wanted to take. As a lover of film and non-profit work as well as a newcomer to the scene, she felt connected to Aurora’s mission of promoting appreciation of moving image art, its dedication to working with local artists, and especially its education programs. Kirby aspires to become a writer/director but also to involve herself with projects that explore communities and that promote community service and awareness. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, photography, watching countless Friends re-runs, reading a good ethnography, and baking all things chocolate.

Maddison Hughes
ExxonMobil CSJP Summer Filmmaking Apprentice
Maddison Hughes is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a degree in communications and will receive her bachelor’s in Radio-Television-Film in 2015. She is honored to be a part of Aurora’s esteemed summer program and couldn’t be more excited to help further inspire (and be inspired by) young enthusiasts who share her passion for the craft of filmmaking, storytelling, and the power of the moving image. A native Houstonian, Maddison is thrilled to be able to spend her summer in the city that she was born and raised, and, at the same time, work within her chosen field and participate artistically to contribute to the rich culture that the city of Houston exemplifies. Outside of film, Maddison is a copious consumer of overpriced food and evocative literature, and is constantly craving the company of crodgity old women. 

Emma Gobillot
West University Special Project Intern
Emma Clare Gobillot is a 17-year-old rising senior from St. John’s School in Houston, Texas. Previously, she has worked as a Production Assistant on the independent film Clinger and is currently the Video Editor of The Review, the student newspaper of St. John’s School. Emma is excited for her internship with Aurora Picture Show and all of the new experiences it will bring. Emma also runs her own video production service, Emma Gobillot Productions, and writes on her film blog Framed. When Emma is not interning or watching movies, she enjoys working out, baking, and hanging out with her friends. 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Welcome Spring 2014 Aurora Picture Show Interns!

Each semester Aurora welcomes a fresh crop of young faces as interns.  In exchange for their support with administrative responsibilities, office management and events, we offer them hands-on experience as a non-profit media arts professional.  This semester, we are happy to announce that we have three helper bees.  If you have not yet met them at Aurora function, then please do say hello the next time that you join us!

Aurora Picture Show Spring 2014 Interns:

Jacinta Molina
I am Jacinta Molina, Fine Artist graduated from La Universidad Nacional de Colombia. My artistic creation has been mostly video art and drawing. But, I do whatever the idea needs to come alive. Currently, I am studying Film Making in the Houston Community College and I have learn many technical strategies in the video production; nevertheless,  I was starting to miss the artistic  perspective and happily I found Aurora Picture Show as  an act of fate, and based in the time I been here I can feel that my learning process will be very interesting and inspirational.  I am a lover of the audiovisual language and I spend big part of my time watching films. I do like poetry in all its possibles forms and being outside.

Megan Sparks
Megan Sparks , an extremely proud Houstonian, is a Junior at the University of Houston-Downtown studying Corporate Communication. Possessing a deep appreciation for the arts, arts advocacy and community engagement,  Megan is excited to be an intern at Aurora Picture Show . An aspiring arts administrator,  she hopes to learn the ins and outs of working at an arts nonprofit. Megan is an avid enthusiast of the Houston music scene, and she spends her spare time attending as many shows as her wallet will allow her. She also enjoys reading, watching too much television for her own good, slowly building her vinyl collection and seeing movies at the River Oaks Theatre.

Robyn Pereira

Robyn Marie Pereira is a 17-year-old senior from the Digital Media Academy at Hightower High School just south of Houston. She is planning to study Photo Communications and Business at St. Edward’s University in the fall and found Aurora Picture Show to be a perfect place to intern with on her way there. Robyn had already been interning with Carlino’s Photography in Richmond, but the way in which APS works with local artists within the community was a key drawing point for her when deciding to take on the second internship. In her time away from interning, she also works as a waitress at Star Cinema Grill, a local dine-in movie theater in Missouri City, TX. Her interests outside of work include playing soccer as captain of her school’s varsity team and going to alternative rock concerts in the Houston area.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Welcome Aurora's Fall Semester Interns

At our events you might notice a rotating team of young faces that assist us each semester, but what you don't see is their kick ass help during office hours, or behind the screens as we like to call it.  These volunteer interns are future media arts professionals and media artists, and we are so appreciative of their help in keeping our small but mighty engine tuned up and moving along.  From administrative duties, research projects, education assistance and screening management, these young professionals are learning the ropes to help them succeed in their future endeavors, while also being an important backbone to Aurora's operations today.

This semester we are pleased to welcome the following interns:

Tyler Thomas is a Houstonian native and is 24 years old. He graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Radio/Television/Film. Tyler is interested in experimental and video art of all varieties and considers it a great honor to be involved with Aurora Picture Show. While away from Aurora, he occupies his time with professional cat herding and selling endless amounts of romance novels to customers at Half Price Books. His interests outside of the work sphere include coffee consumption, playing lovely music on the bass, swimming, and collecting records. 

Zondra Victor is a 20-year old senior at the University of Houston. She is majoring in Media Production and minoring in French. She hopes to use the knowledge she is learning from her studies to become a successful screenwriter in the future. In her spare time, Zondra dances, listens to a variety of music genres, and volunteers. She was attracted to Aurora for many reasons, but the main one was that they both share the spirit of giving back to the community. More fun facts about Zondra: her favorite color is purple, she’s a chocoholic, and prefers dogs over cats.  

My name is Malik Waldon, I’m 18 years old and currently studying film at the Art Institute of Houston. I love film photography, anime and experimental film. I’ve loved movies for longer than I can remember. In high school I won the emerging filmmaker award. I started interning at Aurora while I was at Hightower Highschool. This is my second internship here and I’m ready to learn more. I had a film shown in the Houston is So Hot screening here at Aurora. It was the first time I had seen anything that I had done on the big screen. I want that feeling again - it was great.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The internship program at Aurora Picture Show is an important part of our Education and Outreach initiatives.  By working with university students and aspiring film/art professionals, Aurora aspires to inspire and engage future arts leaders in the community. The Aurora internship program helps young professionals gain hands-on experience to help foster their future careers.  This Summer we welcome four new faces to our home. These young professionals will be part of the backbone of our office and programs.  You will see them at our events helping with event set-up, check-in and screening management.  Please say "howdy."  We adore them - and know that you will too!


Nathalie Phan is a full-time adventurer, part-time goof, determined ruler of the world, and repeat offender of enjoying life a little too much. College poor and personality rich, she resides in Austin, Texas where she attends St. Edward’s University as a Digital Media Management and Communication student. She is happiest when her creative capacities are used at a maximum level. Coming into college, Nathalie started a campus radio station (because why not?) and won various scholarships and awards for her leadership and community-oriented ambition. She commits to a values-led philosophy of life and strives to connect with others through her art and work. Some of her favorite things in life include ice cream, Houston, hypoallergenic cats, sweaty yoga, and micro-blogging.


Brandon Zech is a 19 year old student studying Art History at the University of Houston. He fell in love with video art after seeing Michael Robinson’s Light is Waiting and has wanted to learn more ever since. Brandon is highly involved with the Houston arts community and can regularly be found perusing museums and gallery openings. As an avid printmaker, he aspires to assist in a print studio later in his life. He can normally be found eating pizza at either Barry’s or Café Brazil.


Caitlin Little is an 18 year old born and raised in Sugar Land, Texas. She is currently a sophomore studying at Tufts University and The School of The Museum of Fine arts in Boston. She plans to earn a degree in Fine Arts (film and photography) and Sociology with a focus on media and society.  Caitlin is intrigued with people and how they function in society. She likes to mix her keen interest in people with her films and photography.

 If there is an adventure or exploration offered you can find Caitlin to be signed up and excited to experience any thing new that may occur. One of her nicknames growing up was “The Go Go Girl” because she was always game to go somewhere, when they asked who wants to go, she always said “I’ll go, I’ll go!”

 To describe Caitlin in three words is a challenge but; imaginative, sociable, and explorer would help you understand her. Caitlin also enjoys collecting magnets, drinking chocolate milk, and eating all types of food!


Raised in Houston,TX , Katrina became interested in art at a young age which she pursued in high school interning and working at the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, and leading clubs at the Awty International School. Once
entering college, Katrina expanded her interest to film by taking cinema studies and production courses.  Currently a sophomore concentrating in Modern Culture and Media at Brown University,she has since served as a production assistant on two Brown produced student films, and works part time as a Media Production Assistant on campus. Her interests outside art include cats, novels, and green tea.