Screening will be followed by a conversation with Su Friedrich. FREE SAIC student tickets will be released Sunday, September 3rd.

"[A] personal chronicle about language, memory, and Dad that strikes hard, and deep." – Manohla Dargis, The Village Voice

“[Friedrich] creates a film like a perfect short story." – Stuart Klawans, The Nation

Thursday, September 7, 6:00 p.m. | For nearly a half-century, Su Friedrich has played a pivotal role in American queer cinema and autobiographical film with her rich and often unflinching explorations of family, kinship, and society. Join us for two screenings featuring three landmark films, including SINK OR SWIM (1990), RULES OF THE ROAD (1993), and her latest feature, TODAY (2022) (screening Thursday, September 7, 8:30 p.m.).


SINK OR SWIM (1990, USA, 48 minutes, In English, Format: 16mm)
A landmark in autobiographical filmmaking, SINK OR SWIM is a wrenching portrait of a girl’s fraught relationship with her father. Unspooling in a series of 26 interlocking vignettes, the film chronicles punishments, neglect, and the tumultuous dissolution of her parents’ marriage, touching upon the father’s own childhood traumas and the girl’s emergence into adulthood. Friedrich brings together her own footage, archival film, and text into an evocative collage that underscores the shape-shifting relationship between past and present, family and self.

RULES OF THE ROAD (1993, USA, 31 minutes, In English, Format: 16mm)
At once wry and piercing, RULES OF THE ROAD traces the arc of a love affair through the couples’ prized possession: a Cutlass Cruiser station wagon with fake wood paneling.

About the artist

Su Friedrich has produced 23 films and videos since 1978. She is the recipient of many awards, including fellowships from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim foundations, a Herb Alpert Award, as well as numerous grants from the Jerome Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and Independent Television Service. Her work is widely screened in the United States, Canada, and Europe and has been the subject of retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Rotterdam International Film Festival; the London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival; the Stadtkino,Vienna; The Cinematheque, Vancouver; the National Film Theater, London; the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema; the New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival; the first Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival; the Cork International Film Festival; the Wellington Film Festival; the Bios art center, Athens; and the Anthology Film Archives, New York. Friedrich taught film and video production at Princeton University from 1998–2023.

Related Event: TODAY (screening Thursday, September 7, 8:30 p.m.)


This event will have real-time captions (CART). For other accessibility requests, please visit or contact

SAIC Student Tickets

All CATE programs are free for SAIC students. Unless otherwise noted, SAIC student tickets are released five days prior to showtime. Tickets must be picked up in person from the Gene Siskel Film Center box office. A student ID is required.

Member Series Pass: Attend the series at a discounted rate - exclusively for Film Center members. The pass provides access to all eight screenings, with artists in conversation, for a special $40 rate. 

Purchase your pass today