Program Faculty

Abigail Severance

Abigail Severance is a filmmaker, writer and photographer whose narrative and experimental work examines memory, gender, family, the body and the powerful act of witnessing. Her first film, Pump, won five best short awards in 1999. Since then, her work has screened extensively at venues in the U.S. and abroad, including Sundance, Los Angeles Film Festival, REDCAT, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Black Maria Film and Video Festival, Women in the Director’s Chair, Philadelphia Film Festival, Cork International Film Festival, Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, and Mix Experimental Festival (New York and Sao Paolo), among others.

Severance earned a BA in Cultural Studies from Hampshire College and an MFA in Directing from UCLA. She has taught at UC San Diego and joined the CalArts faculty in 2005. As a cinematographer, she collaborates with other film, sound and performance artists including Kadet Kuhne (Holding Pattern Series: Infinite Delay), Mo Perkins (Hush; A Quiet Little Marriage) and Jenni Olson (Joy of Life). Her ongoing project with durational performance artist Julie Tolentino, Eye Witness, is an investigation of instinct and authenticity within the performative moment.

Current work includes the narrative feature project The Summer We Drowned, recipient of a Film Independent Fellowship and a Sundance Producers Conference selection; Jenny Mi Amor, an improvised narrative portrait; and Myles From Nowhere, a memoir about migration, nostalgia and running from the law in Nova Scotia.