Two Jewish women in New York, one says, “Do you see what’s going on in Poland?”  The other says “I live in the back, I don’t see anything.”
-Henny Youngman

Inspired by REAR WINDOW and a long stare-off with a neighbor through our respective windows one Tuesday afternoon, APART/MENTAL grew out of composer Ken Steen, writer Mary Birnbaum and director Anna Pool’s discussions of the people we unknowingly share our lives with and the secrets they may hold. When visual artist Jojo Karlin sent Mary wry and whimsically crafted paper dolls of each character, our puppet opera concept was born: a remedy for how to film a cast who live across the world, from Hong Kong to Peru. Within Ken Steen’s imaginative, foley-infused score, ensconcing each apartment in their own unique sound world, APART/MENTAL asks: what leads to trust in a community? What incentive do we have to take care of each other? Oh, and how many times can you disinfect a doorknob?

Artist Statement
Filmmaker, Editor & Librettist
Mary Birnbaum
Ken Steen
Co-director & Dramaturge
Anna Pool
Jojo Karlin
Sofia - Gilda Lyons
Theo - Will Liverman
Hope - Anna Laurenzo
Ming - Vivian Yau
Pablo - Santiago Pizarro
Susan - Jaye Simmons
Skye - Britt Hewitt
David - Benjamin Rauch
Nancy - Raehann Bryce-Davis
Electric Guitar - Thomas Schuttenhelm
Violin - Anton Miller
Viola - Rita Porfiris
Lever Harp - Hayley Hewitt

Others you might like

After Glow

NBC’s The Voice finalist John Holiday and poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph lead us through a sensual, modern retelling of Schumann’s iconic song cycle Dichterliebe.


The road from trauma to tragedy. Interstate is the story of Olivia and Diane, who shared a childhood in vulnerable, unsafe circumstances before life sent them down different roads. The adult Diane reaches out from her stable life to Olivia, a prostitute in prison for murder. Interstate blends the horror and violence of Olivia’s life with the tenderness of old friendship and the hard questions of accountability.

Obscura Nox

In this modern retelling of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, a woman is cloistered in a prison of her own making until a mysterious stranger shows her a way out.

On Lost Time

A new Harper Henly film set against the iconic and historic backdrop of the Chicago Cultural Center.


Joffrey Ballet company dancers Brooke Linford and Graham Maverick.


Subversive is an experimental dance film and afro-futurist electronic soundscape by Marcus Amaker, poet laureate of Charleston and Academy of American poets fellow.

Stunningly beautiful performing arts films to stream at home.

Be the first to know about new titles, live events and upcoming projects

Join Us

Be the first to know about new titles, live events and upcoming projects