Her film Phoenix Dance (2006, 16 min & 23 min) – recounting Homer Avila’s remarkable return to the stage as a one-legged dancer in a pas de deux by Alonzo King – has been screening in more than 100 festivals and theaters all over the world. It was“short-listed” for the 2006 Oscar Nomination for Short Documentary, and has won twelve awards, including a Golden Gate Award from the San Francisco Int’l Film Festival. This work was also photographed and edited by Karina.

From four years of close friendship with a 94-year-old Armenian woman who survived the genocide of her people in 1915, Karina created I Will Not Be Sad In This World (2001, 56 min).  She spent much time in Zaroohe’s home in Fresno with her digital video camera.  This lyrical portrait – as most of Karina’s other works – uses fairytale, poetry, and art to take the viewer on an inner journey.  The film has been shown at numerous festivals, and it is used in high schools and universities. 

Her earlier video pieces Labyrinthian (1984, 20 min) and i.e. Deutschland (1988, 8 min) were followed by Voices from Inside (1996, 60 min), a documentary about women in prison and their children on the outside.  It was the culmination of her four years of teaching theater as a volunteer at a federal women’s prison.  Karina traveled extensively with the film, leading discussions and running workshops at festivals, universities, conferences, and community groups.  Voices won the National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s PASS Media Award (Prevention for a Safer Society), and is distributed by New Day Films.. 

Karina directed, co-produced and co-photographed with John Knoop, We Are Here Together (2003, 65 min), a film about the tempestuous first year of an alternative charter high school in Alameda, California.  She directed and photographed Women’s Rites (2000, 37 min), about five women from Europe and the U.S. studying the Anna Halprin Life/Art Process, as well as In the Shadow of Huma’s Wing (2008, 56 min), a highly intimate, experiential film about somatic psychotherapy. 

She also co-produced, co-directed and co-edited with John Knoop the documentary Awakening from Sorrow: Buenos Aires 1997 (2009, 40 min). The film, contemplating history and giving voice to the children of the disappeared in the Dirty War in Argentina, and their emerging HIJOS movement, screened at festivals here and abroad, and is distributed by Ikarus Films to the educational market.

Films by Karina Epperlein

Voices From Inside

Women prisoners and their children speak out.