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The Tuba Thieves

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Framed around a string of unsolved tuba thefts in Los Angeles from 2011 to 2013, the film cuts against the grain: instead of investigating the crimes like a conventional documentary, it reframes them as a metaphysical experiment — how does the absence of sound affect our experience? The film reimagines closed captions, expressing stories and ways of hearing through text placement, font size, colour, and punctuation that’s equally playful and profound. The result is a vibrant new cinematic experience — part historical documentary, part poetic video essay, with interwoven narrative vignettes — that immerses you in a rich parallel world, where you “hear” the humming of plants, the vibrations in the air from Californian forest fires, a 70s punk rock deaf concert, a performance of John Cage’s infamous 4′33″… It forces you to reevaluate your relationship with the quotidian sounds of your life. Drawing on her lived experience as a d/Deaf/Hard of Hearing person, director Alison O’Daniel transcends assumptions of sound, silence, and language in this groundbreaking hybrid documentary.


Q&A on September 30 & October 2


Community Partner


Nyeisha “Nyke” Prince, Russell Harvard, Geovanny Marroquin, Warren “WAWA” Snipe, Ajia Jones

Country of Origin





In American Sign Language and English with open captions

Film Contact
Content Warning

Coarse & Sexual Language

91 min
Documentary Women Directors

Book Tickets

Monday October 02

6:00 pm
Descriptive Video Guests/Q&As Hearing Assistance Open Captioning U18 May Attend
Vancity Theatre
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Executive Producer

Wendy Ettinger, Maida Lynn, Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen


Rachel Nederveld, Alison O’Daniel, Su Kim, Maya E. Rudolph


Derek Howard


Alison O’Daniel, Zach Khalil

Production Design

Mboni Maumba, Clover Singsen, Heather Quesada

Original Music

Christine Sun Kim, Ethan Frederick Greene, Steve Roden


Alison O'Daniel headshot

Alison O’Daniel

Alison O’Daniel is a filmmaker and visual artist. She has screened and exhibited in galleries and museums internationally, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; Centro Centro, Madrid, Spain; Renaissance Society, Chicago; Art in General, New York; and many more. O’Daniel is a United States Artist 2022 Disability Futures Fellow and a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow. She was included in Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film and writing. She is an Assistant Professor of Film at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.


See more films in this series:

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Lonely Oaks


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Between Revolutions

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In a hybrid film comprised entirely of archival footage, two fictional women are torn from each other by the tides of repressive political and patriarchal systems. A haunting, lyrical tale of longing for freedom amongst connection.

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Mighty Afrin: In the Time of Floods

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From the floodplains of Brahmaputra River to Bangladesh’s capital city, this stunning hybrid-documentary captures the catastrophic effects of climate change upon the country’s people and landscape. Told through an orphan's personal odyssey.

International Village 8
The Tuba Thieves
The Tuba Thieves film image

The Tuba Thieves

Documentary Women Directors

Drawing on her experience as a d/Deaf/Hard of Hearing person, director Alison O’Daniel transcends assumptions of sound, silence, and language in this groundbreaking hybrid doc framed around a string of unsolved tuba thefts in L.A.

Vancity Theatre

Hello Dankness

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In the finest tradition of MAD Magazine, found footage from classic US film and television is combined to create a fictitious American neighborhood, reflecting modern American life from 2016 - 2021 in a wildly unconventional and absurdist satire.

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Documentary LGBTQIA2S+

Jaya, a teacher and comedian, travels across the typhoon-ravaged Philippines in a bid to win a beauty pageant. En route, they pick up an unlikely companion. Comic, sorrowful, and political, Asog examines the climate crisis through a kaleidoscopic lens.

SFU Woodwards The Rio Theatre
Smoke Sauna Sisterhood
Smoke Sauna Sisterhood film image

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood

Documentary Women Directors

Within the confines of a smoke sauna deep in an Estonian forest, groups of women gather to cleanse themselves in both body and soul, sharing in traditional sauna-based rituals, while also revealing their hurts and longings, joys and pains.

The Cinematheque
Kim's Video
Kim's Video film image

Kim's Video


New York institution Kim’s Video closed its doors in 2008. Fifteen years later, filmmakers David Redmon and Ashley Sabin set out to find out what happened to the 55,000 film collection and uncover a story of corruption, deception, and intrigue.

The Cinematheque Vancity Theatre