Drifting Towards the Cresent

Digital Video, 85:56, 2017

    As the Mississippi River flows past the town of Keokuk, Iowa, towards Hannibal, Missouri, the birthplace of Mark Twain, an antebellum history languishes in the air. Drifting Towards the Crescent captures the place on the Mississippi River where the North begins to drift into the South. As the diesel barges ply the waters, the river no longer needs the towns, but the towns still need the river.

Shooter and Whitley

16mm and Super 8 transferred to HD, 52:23, 2014

    Shooter and Whitley is a 16mm film that blurs the boundaries of narrative and documentary, while crossing the tracks between the outskirts of town where an outlaw motorcycle club reigns supreme in a no man's land by the rail yards. The bike club spends their time hanging out at a tiny little motel with a 1950's neon sign, the Sky Lit Motel, and a bar where dancers ply their trade for the club members, known as Bourbon Street. Shooter and Whitley was shot without a script, as the lives of the club members play out against the back drop of a Midwestern city bereft of opportunities.

Das Rote Licht

16mm and Super 8 projections, 3:52, 2010

    Das Rote Licht is an experimental short film that superimposes the windows of Vienna's red light district to the architectural treasures of the Hapsburg's Imperial era. Filmed with furtive glances towards S&M mannequins harking to the lonely, it has the look of a peep show film projected over and over again.

Come Back Scorpio Rising

16mm, 4:45, 2007

    16mm ode to Eddie Sedgwick and Kenneth Anger.

Tales From the Crypt: Denver

16mm, 5:20, 2005

    Denver, Colorado, mid to late 90's, when it was a crossroads to the West.

Lair of the Damned

16mm, 5:20, 2004

    Like a Russ Meyer daydream, enter the Lair of the Damned, where the 70's Cadillac hearse is crawling with Gothic vixens. The vamps rule this garage of depravity, and the lone mechanic is their sadistic puppet. Raven haired seductresses take pleasure in this den of destruction, as the sounds of Ruth White's rendition of Charles Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil eerily plays on, serenading their games of power, perversity, and revenge. Bustiers of leather, hearses filled with flowers, and a permeation of the bizarre fill the air in this land of strangeness tale.

Ken: Story of a Western Drifter

Super 8 Sound, 3:57, 2003

    Ken: Story of a Western Drifter, shot on Super 8 sound in the rail yards and forgotten wasteland beyond Denver's Central Station, in the no man's land every American city features. It was once the land that Jack Kerouac tramped in On the Road. Ken, a former Army brat and present-day drifter, reminisces on his limited options as the winds of winter begin to blow down from the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.


        Laura Stewart is a filmmaker residing in Chicago. Preferring to work with non-actors, Stewart’s films are interested in places with an aura of the past influencing the present. Another focus is the economics of female sexuality and how it effects opportunity, or lack thereof, in small town America. Working within the realm of coexistence between cinéma vérité and fictive elements, Stewart’s work frequently focuses on the Midwest.
        Stewart's feature film debut, Shooter and Whitley (2013), has screened at RIDM Montreal, Antimatter, New Orleans Film Festival, Athens International Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Chicago Filmmakers, the Motorcycle Film Festival (Best Narrative Feature Award), the Nightingale Cinema, and the Gene Siskel Film Center. Her previous short films have screened at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Stewart received funding for Drifting Towards the Crescent from the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund in 2014. Laura received her MFA in 2013 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was the recipient of the William French Fellowship for outstanding MFA thesis.



2013 Master of Fine Arts in Film, Video, New Media, and Animation, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Recipient of William Merchant R. French Fellowship
2002 Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Upcoming Screenings

2017 International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands: Drifting Towards the Crescent

Selected Screenings

2015 Chicago Filmmakers, Chicago, IL: Shooter and Whitley
2014 RIDM Montreal, Montreal, Canada: Shooter and Whitley
2014 Antimatter, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Shooter and Whitley
2014 New Orleans Film Festival, New Orleans, LA: Shooter and Whitley
2014 Athens International Film Festival, Athens, OH: Shooter and Whitley
2014 Motorcycle Film Festival, Williamsburg, NYC: Shooter and Whitley
2014 Wisconsin Film Festival, Madison, WI; Solo Retrospective
2014 The Nightingale, Chicago, IL: Shooter and Whitley
2013 You Might as Well Live, Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL: Shooter and Whitley
2012 Act II: Fiction Brings It Closer, Student Union Galleries at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago: Shooter and Whitley
2010 Madison Museum of Contemporary Art: Triennial Exhibition, Madison, WI
2010 Woods Hole Film Festival, Woods Hole, MA, Ken: Story of a Western Drifter
2010 Action on Film International Film Festival; Los Angeles, CA: Das Rote Licht
2010 Culture Unplugged: Ken: Story of a Western Drifter
2009 European Film Festival: Ken: Story of a Western Drifter
2009 Action on Film International Film Festival; Los Angeles, CA: Ken: Story of a Western Drifter
2008 Neville Museum; Green Bay, WI: American Carnival
2005 Wisconsin Film Festival, Madison, WI: Das Rote Licht

Awards and Honors

2014 Motorcycle Film Festival, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC; Shooter and Whitley, Best Narrative Feature
2014 Chicago Media Digital Production Fund Grant; Drifting Towards the Crescent
2014 Wisconsin Film Festival; Nominated for the Golden Badger Award, Shooter and Whitley
2013 The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Received William Merchant R. French Fellowship for MFA Thesis film, Shooter and Whitley
2013 Flaxman Library: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Shooter and Whitley acquired for permanent collection
2010 Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
2009 Action on Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA; Nominated for Best Documentary
2006 Fred Alley Visionary Artist Award for Excellence in the Arts
2006 Peninsula Arts Association Grant in conjunction with the Wisconsin Arts Board; Silver Screen Spectra
2004 Peninsula Arts Association Grant in conjunction with the Wisconsin Arts Board; American Carnival

Selected Bibliography

2015 Cinematheque: Jim Healy's Favorites of 2014; http://cinema.wisc.edu/blog/2015/01/01/jim-healys-favorites-2014
2014 Victoria News: Antimatter Festival Celebrates with Screenings, Installations and Performances; Featuring Shooter and Whitley, http://www.vicnews.com/entertainment/278677141.html
2014 What to Doc: RIDM Overview: Shooter and Whitley, http://whatnottodoc.com/2014/11/12/ridm-2014-overview/
2014 Wisconsin Public Television: Laura Stewart, director of Shooter and Whitley, featured on Wisconsin Public Television, "Director's Cut"
2014 Wisconsin Public Radio: "Jim Healy discusses Shooter and Whitley as one of the films to see this year"
2014 Isthmus: The Daily Page; Wisconsin Film Festival 2014: Shooter and Whitley director Laura A. Stewart discussed modern-day motorcycle culture; http://www.isthmus.com/daily/article.php?article=42300
2014 The Daily Page: Around the World in Twelve Movies; featuring Shooter and Whitley
2014 Cinemaniak: Shooter and Whitley; http://www.cinemaniak.net/shooter-and-whitley/
2014 Film Documentaire France: Shooter and Whitley; http://www.film-documentaire.fr/Shooter_and_Whitley.html,film,43324
2014 Quoifaireaujourdhui.com: Shooter and Whitley; http://www.quoifaireaujourdhui.com/events/index.php?eID=305205
2013 Bad At Sports: Contemporary Art Talk; "Film Review: Shooter and Whitley by Laura Stewart," September 30, 2013; http://badatsports.com/2013/film-review-shooter-and-whitley-by-laura-stewart/
2013 Review for the Nightingale Cinema: http://nightingalecinema.org/shooter-and-whitley
2010 Milwaukee Journal; "Bugs, quilts and the state of art," by Mary Louise Schumacher, April 25, 2010

Recent Lectures

2014 RIDM Montreal: Talent Lab; "Fictional Approach with Laura Stewart and Peter Kruger," Montreal, November 2014