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email: rooneyelmi[at]


Rooney Elmi is a culture writer 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 traveling micro-cinema that aims to redefine the creative and social parameters of non-metropolitian film scene(s) by curating an eclectic mix of films that vary in style and substance.

Elmi is currently gearing up to produce her debut documentary feature, Seen, alongside seven filmmakers from the U.S travel ban nations. 


programming, moderating, panels, etc


WEXNER CENTER FOR THE ARTS [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

Brooklyn RailInterview with NO EVIL EYE  co-founders

Radical Migration Stories on the Road

Columbus AliveNo 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 

Judge on Sheffield Doc/Fest’s New Talent Jury.