Catherine Pancake

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Catherine Pancake
Born October 10, 1966 (1966-10-10) (age 51)
Occupation Cinematographer

Catherine Pancake is an American filmmaker and musician. She is a co-founder of the Red Room Collective, the High Zero Foundation, the Charm City Kitty Club and the Transmodern Festival. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Film and Media Arts Program at Temple University and director of the Black Oak House Gallery. Her documentary film Black Diamonds (2006), an examination of mountaintop removal mining, has received a number of awards.


Pancake grew up in the areas of Romney, West Virginia and Summersville, West Virginia. She moved to Baltimore in 1993.[1][2] she is a relative of the writers Breece D'J Pancake, Ann Pancake,[3] and actor Sam Pancake.[4]


In Baltimore Pancake co-founded the Red Room Collective and High Zero Foundation. She also became a self-trained improvising percussionist and began making films, which ranged from short, experimental meditations to feature-length narratives and documentaries. She is a founding member of the Charm City Kitty Club (GLBT Performance Series) and the Transmodern Festival (Live.Art.Action.)[2]

She currently lives in Philadelphia, where she is Assistant Professor in the Film and Media Arts Program at Temple University and director of Black Oak House Gallery.[5]

Beginning around 2001, her primary project was a documentary about the mountaintop removal project of the coal in southern West Virginia and its resulting environmental and humanitarian consequences titled Black Diamonds. Black Diamonds: Mountaintop Removal & The Fight for Coalfield Justice was released by Bull Frog Films for distribution in December, 2006.[6]

Pancake received a Masters in Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2012. As recipient of the Edes Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship, she began the film Genius Project as her Edes Year project. In it she documents five avant-garde artists who identify as queer women: Eileen Myles, Barbara Hammer, Jibz Cameron, Shannon Funchess[7] and Rasheedah Phillips.[8]

Since 2012, Pancake has been directing Queer Genius, a documentary interviewing and following queer-identifying artists Eileen Myles, Barbara Hammer, Shannon Funchess, and Jibz Cameron.[9]

Film and videography[edit]

  • 2006 release, Black Diamonds: Mountaintop Removal & The Fight for Coalfield Justice, DV 72 minutes;[10] screened at the Documentary Fortnight Series at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Feb 2008[11][12]
  • 2009, Jay Dreams[2]
  • 2010, bitterbittertears[13]
  • 2011, Optical Scores[2]


  • 2002, Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award[4]
  • 2006, Key to the City, South Charleston, West Virginia[14]
  • 2006, Paul Robeson Independent Media Award[4]
  • 2007, Jack Spadaro Documentary Award[4]
  • 2007, Silver Chris Award - Best in Science & Technology Division - Columbus International Film Festival[4]
  • 2012, Edes Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago[7]
  • 2013, American Composers Forum, Subito grant for Axon Ladder, Bhob Rainey, Catherine Pancake, Meg Foley[15]
  • 2014, Pew Center for Arts & Heritage “No Idea Too Ridiculous” grant for Allele Wake, Catherine Pancake, Bhob Rainey, Christina Zani[16]


  1. ^ "Growing Up Without Television . . . Trials and Tribulations of Developing Visual Media in a Culture of Oral Tradition A talk by Catherine Pancake" (PDF). Marshall University Graduate College. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Catherine Pancake". Baltimore Filmmakers. April 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ McCabe, Bret (March 29, 2006). "Tragic Mountains: Local Filmmaker Catherine Pancake Hopes To Bring the Devastation of Mountaintop Removal Mining To a Theater Near You". Baltimore City Paper. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Nature Is Hungry A screening of films by Catherine Pancake". Vox Populi. October 22, 2016. 
  5. ^ The Galleries at Moore. "The Convo: Catherine Pancake". Retrieved 3 March 2017. 
  6. ^ "Black Diamonds: Mountaintop Removal & The Fight For Coalfield Justice". Bullfrog Films. Retrieved 3 March 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Catherine Pancake". Claire Rosen & Samuel Edes Foundation. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  8. ^ Thomas, Emily (8 November 2016). "Professor creates film on the 'genius' of queer artists". Temple News. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  9. ^ Pancake, Catherine. "Queer Genius". Kickstarter. Catherine Pancake. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  10. ^ "Maryland Today". Washington Post. April 19, 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  11. ^ ""Black Diamonds" Mountaintop Removal Documentary". Appalachian Voices. February 7, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Movies". The New York Times. February 29, 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  13. ^ "Catherine Pancake's bitterbittertears". Baltimore City Paper. September 22, 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  14. ^ "Black Diamonds Movie". OVEC. March 11, 2006. 
  15. ^ "Bhob Rainey 2013 Pew Fellow". Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  16. ^ "Allele Wake (2014) w/ Bhob Rainey & Christina Zani". Catherine Pancake. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]