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email: rooneyelmi[at]gmail[dot]com



Rooney Elmi is a culture writer, documentary producer, and film programmer with a hyperfocus on nonfiction cinema. Her essays and interviews have been published in Film Comment, i-D, DAZED, Real Life Magazine, The FADER, Hyperallergic, among many others.

Interests in internationalism, cyber culture, and anti-capitalism lead to her brainchild, SVLLY(wood), a annual print and digital movie magazine, geared toward curating a radical cinephilia. The self-published editorial has been read and housed around the world and remains one of the extremely rare, feminist print film publications in circulation.
Additionally, she’s the co-founder of NO EVIL EYE, a underground nomadic micro-cinema that aims to redefine the creative and social parameters of film scene(s) by curating an eclectic mix of films and accessible educational workshops.

Her work has been profiled in Brooklyn Rail, Interview Magazine, NYLON, and more.


programming, moderating, panels, etc

Wexner Center for the Arts x Free Space [Columbus, OH] October-November 2020 NO EVIL EYE’s premiere gallery exhibition included SEQUENCE 01 and curating the gallery with political literature from local organizations. Free and accessible under COVID guidelines. 

Unorthodocs [ONLINE] October 2020  Interview with Ashley O’Shay for the Ohio premiere of her debut documentary, Unapologetic

New York Film Festival: Outside the Canon 
[ONLINE] September 2020 A roundtable discussion about expanding the cinematic canon and imagining new and equitable structures.

Doha Film Institute: Visions of Power [ONLINE] August 2020 Invited to discuss the works of Ousmane Sembene, political cinema, and African film. 

The Legacies Of Sarah Maldoror
[ONLINE] May 2020 Panelist at ANOTHER GAZE's virtual event honoring the iconic filmmaker, Sarah Maldoror.

Images Festival [Toronto, Canada] April 2020Invited to as a guest session leader for the 2020 Research Forum.

NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL [New Orleans, LA] October 2019
Took the traveling microcinema to NOFF for a special screening and Q&A. Hosted a linkup + kickback with local anti-racist enviornmentalists.

[Columbus, OH] August 2019 
Introduced Djibril Diop Mambéty's Hyenas (1992) for the opening night of Columbus Black International Film Festival.

[Brooklyn, NY] July 2019Took the traveling microcinema to Spectacle Theater for a 3-screening showcase. Also hosted a day-long linkup + kickback with 8BALL and anti-ICE organizers.

NO EVIL EYE [Columbus, OH] May 2019Launched the microcinema at Wexner Center for the Arts with post-screening discussion and zine-fair.

True/False Film Festival
[Colombia, Missouri] March 2019
  Moderated eight (8) Q&A’s including world premieres with international documentary filmmakers. 

Indie Memphis Film Festival Indie Grants Jury [Memphis, Tennessee] November 2018

One of three members of the Indie Grants Jury.

Unorthodocs. [Columbus, OH] October 2018

Moderate the post-screening Q&A for the Midwest premiere of Shakedown (2018) with Leilah Weinraub at Wexner Center for the Arts.

Indie Memphis Film Festival New Black Creators Forum [Memphis, Tennessee] July 2018

One of three members of the Final Selection Committee for Indie Memphis Black Filmmaker Residency in Screenwriting 2018.

SVLLY(wood) @ Deptford Cinema [London, England] June 2018
Curated a special program of Sundance, SXSW, Vimeo Staff Pick, and BFI award winning documentary short films that center imprisoned women on screen and participate in the necessary work of undoing the celluloid legacy of violence and exploitation of women behind bars. Inspired by the ethos of SVLLY(wood)’s issue.3: INCARCERATION, this short film program was followed by a panel with filmmakers and local anti-prison activists.

Sheffield Doc/Fest  
[Sheffield, England] June 2018

Member of the New Talent Award Jury, set to discover the future of documentary film.

The New York Film Festival Critics Academy [New York City] Sept-October 2017

One of ten selected emerging writers to attend and cover NYFF screenings and events at the festival. Actively particiating in roundtable discussions with working writers and other members of the industry co hosted by Film Society of Lincoln Center, indieWIRE, and Film Comment Magazine.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences [Ohio Valley] June 2017

Judge for the 53rd Annual Ohio Valley Regional Emmy® Awards focusing on Short Form Fiction. Up to 30 diverse short films from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana.

Radical Film Network USA: A Global Gathering [New York City] May 2017

Invited guest whose aim was to strengthen the relationships within the radical film community from across the Americas and around the globe.

Theorizing the Web Conference [New York City] April 2017

Panelist at the annual Theorizing the Web conference at the Musuem of Moving Image, presenting a talk on visual literacy and black personhood in the age of social media and Black Lives Matter.

#BlackLivesMatter in the Classroom Symposium [Columbus, OH] May 2016

One of four locally based anti-racist community and student organizers invited to speak on the Ohio State moderated by African American Studies department and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

#OscarsSoWhite @ The Ohio State University [Columbus, OH] February 2015

Speaker at #OscarsSoWhite and the Fight for Representation the politics of diversity in Hollywood.

press mentions

Field of Vision/Field Notes
Led by Imagination 

Brooklyn RailInterview with NO EVIL EYE co-founders

Radical Migration Stories on the Road

Columbus Alive  No Evil Eye debuts at the Wex

Interview Magazine

Columbus AliveLocal publication makes room for unheard voices in film criticism

5 Somali Artists And Writers On How Surveillance Culture Shapes Their Work

Columbus Underground
Local Activist Talks Self-Published Movie Magazine SVLLY(wood)

Film Society Lincoln Center  Artist Academy and Critics Academy at NYFF55

Graveyard Shift SistersHorror Blackademics: Rooney Elmi's Black Feminity as the Monstrousness video essay 
Graveyard Shift Sisters5 Questions with SVLLY(wood) Magazine Publisher, Rooney Elmi 
Film Jive Podcast contributed to Film Jive's Soundtrack of Terror Vol. II