Amber Bemak

Film & Media Arts

Associate Professor





Amber Bemak holds a B.A. in Communications from Antioch College and an M.F.A. in Film, Video and New Media from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bemak teaches all aspects of filmmaking at SMU.

Bemak's work is based in experimental and documentary film and also spans performance art and curatorial practice. She has co-directed and produced two feature-length documentaries on Tibetan Buddhism as well as created 15 short experimental and documentary films that have played in numerous festivals internationally. Bemak’s experimental work focuses on themes of cross-cultural encounters in the context of globalization and performative explorations of the body in relation to greater political systems. She also conceived and directed a two-year participatory video project with women’s empowerment collectives in India, Nepal and Kenya, resulting in a series of five documentaries now used widely as training tools for global peer exchange programs. Additionally, she has worked in the capacity of producer, director, cinematographer, editor and sound designer on over 30 films in collaboration with production companies, television stations, nonprofit organizations and commissioned art projects. She is currently working on a feature-length documentary with and on the artist Guillermo Goméz-Peña and his performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. Her work has been seen at venues including the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Rubin Museum of Art, and SculptureCenter in New York City, as well as the Tamayo Museum and Oberhausen International Film Festival. She has taught film theory and practice in India, Nepal, Kenya, Mexico and the United States.


M.F.A. in Film, Video, and New Media, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
B.A. in Communications, Antioch College

Selected Filmography/Artwork

100 Ways to Cross the Border, feature documentary, in-progress
Borderhole 2017, experimental short
Tell Me When You Die 2015, experimental short
Airplane Dance 2013, experimental short
Champions 2011, documentary short
Getting Ahead 2011, documentary short
This is My Life 2009, documentary short
Desire in Three Places 2008, experimental short


When the Iron Bird Flies 2012, feature-length documentary. Producer and co-director
Blessings 2008, feature-length documentary. Associate producer, director of photography


100 Ways to Cross the Border, in-progress
Us Paar (The Opposite Shore) 2009, narrative short. Directed by Anushka Shivdasani Rovshen

Interdisciplinary work

Force of Stillness, 2020, Festival of Buddhist experimental film and performance. Curator, Crow Museum, Dallas
Force of Stillness, 2016, Festival of Buddhist experimental film and performance. Curator, Rubin Museum of Art
American Spectral History, 2016, multi-media performance. Collaboration with Nadia Granados
Deviant Harmony, 2013-15, multi-media performance. Co-director with Vanessa Anspaugh
We Were an Island, 2014, dance piece. Sound design; choreography by Vanessa Anspaugh

Course list

Production 1
Screenwriting 1
Nonfiction Production
Amber Bemak