Carnegie Mellon University

"Telephone" Screening

CAS Speaker Series

October 24, 5:00pm
The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, CFA 111

Telephone is an activist screendance documentary celebrating emotionally rich, poetic audio description for dance, which allows blind and visually impaired people to be included fully in the joy of artistic expression.

The first of its kind, Telephone was created specifically with a visually impaired audience in mind, while facilitating an immersive sensory experience for audience members of all sight levels. Featuring diverse disabled and non-disabled artists from across the globe, the film demystifies and legitimizes audio description, not just as an access tool, but as a beautiful, rich art form in its own right.

Join us at Carnegie Mellon for a hybrid live/virtual screening of the forty-five-minute film. The screening will be followed by a talkback with Professor Georgina Kleege and the film's co-directors, choreographer/filmmaker Heather Shaw and Dark Room Ballet Founder Krishna Washburn, who will both join the event virtually.

More information about Telephone at:

The film includes audio description, American Sign Language, and open captions. ASL Interpretation will also be included in the Q & A portion of the event.


Heather Shaw
Co-Director, Telephone Film

heather-shaw-headshot-pc-lauren-hoskins-600x900-min.jpgWith diverse experience as a choreographer, performer, curator, and filmmaker, Heather Shaw's work has been presented at YAGP, California Dance Classics, Dance Mission SF, and more. Her documentary film Telephone, co-directed with Krishna Wasburn, has been screened across the country including at NYU, EstroGenius Festival, Carrollwood Cultural Center, Mill Valley Film Festival, San Francisco Dance Festival, and more. Heather is the Artistic Director of Montage Contemporary Company and, in 2020, she was selected as one of five choreographers from across the country for Regional Dance America's NCI. Heather received her BA in Philosophy from UC Berkeley and her work explores the intersection of perception, movement, sentience, cultural behavior, and aesthetics.

Krishna Washburn
Co-Director, Telephone Film

Krishna WashburnKrishna Christine Washburn is the artistic director and sole teacher of Dark Room Ballet, a pre-professional dance curriculum designed for the educational needs of blind and visually impaired people like herself. Krishna holds a Masters of Education from Hunter College, a BA from Barnard College, and multiple certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine. Krishna has been a popular guest educator, in particular in the fields of self-audio description and curriculum development for blind and visually impaired dance students. She has spoken at the 92nd Street Y, NYU, National Dance Educators Organization, and ArtSpark Texas.


  • Georgina Kleege, Professor Emerita of English at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Whitney Laemmli, Department of History, Carnegie Mellon University

The filmmakers also provided the following links to the film trailers, should they be useful:

Trailer #1 on Vimeo
Trailer #2 on Vimeo

This screening is co-sponsored by the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and brought to campus as part of the Borderlines “Body Doubles” project.