About Brainwash

The Annual Brainwash Drive-in, Bike-in, Walk-in Movie Festival: unique independent movies in a great East Bay atmosphere

The New York Times says the Brainwash Movie Festival “pirat[es] a piece of that old Hollywood magic and challeng[es] conventions on the role of public space in the process.” (“Now Playing, a Digital Brigadoon,” 7/29/04, Chris Thompson).
“We project movies onto a tarp on an Oakland parking lot” counters Festival Founder Emeritus Shelby Toland.

The movies shown at the Brainwash Movie Festival are a great mix of original humor, experimental art movies, innovative animation, and short live-action stories with high production values. The moviemakers are unique and skillful storytellers, and the movies themselves pack a real punch into anywhere from 5 to 18 minutes. In the past, we have also featured  great features: John Law & Flecher Fleudujon’s “Head Trip”, an all-Jesus show featuring “Trailer Park Jesus”, by Sean Gerowin, and a made for Brainwash Drive-In movie “Doctor ‘S’ Battles the Sex Crazed Reefer Zombies”, by Bryan Ortiz, which suffered it’s debut at the 15th Annual Brainwash Festival in 2009. All great, rare features! Not to mention our usual abundance of innovative, unique and vital shorts!

What’s a Drive-in Bike-in Walk-in Movie Festival? It’s set up like a traditional drive-in with FM sound as well as two big amps. Arrive however you choose: drive, bike, or walk in, perhaps with your favorite chair or blanket.

Brainwash Movies has been showing great underground mostly short movies since 1995, and we have accumulated the rights to over 500 titles to produce an ongoing broadcast series. We’ve been written up in Variety, the New York Times, the Chronicle Pink Section, East Bay Express, Bay Guardian, SF Weekly, and in AAA’s Via magazine, among many others. We’ve toured the US Southwest and played at CBGB’s in New York.

We are also developing a broadcast pilot that includes footage filmed live at the festival. Stay tuned for a regular show of our short movies, held together with commentary, banter, and an as-yet confidential plot that may once and for all resolve the question: “Who is Shelby Toland?”. Or maybe not!

The Annual Brainwash Drive-In/Bike-In/Walk-In Movie Festival  –

And again, with a virtual plethora of weird, unusual and just plain great short and feature movies, this year again promises to be worthy of the culmination of 30 years of fine movies for audience enjoyment and edification from Brainwash. A must see, including movies that will entice, shock the sensibilities and touch your heart.

You won’t want to miss it!

Contact Shelby Toland: brainwash.movies[@], call 510 836-3210, or visit us on Facebook at for more information.

Click on images below to view a larger version, right-click to download (note: sizes below are not proportional):


The Brainwash Drive-in Bike-in Walk-in Movie Festival.

Brainwash Movies banner.  

The Brainwash logo.


Brainwash logo with URL.


Timelapse photo of the Brainwash Movie festival (please credit Gary Nakamoto).


Brainwash Movies’ irascible and (perhaps) mythical founder, Shelby Toland, issues a directive to festivalgoers from onscreen.


Executive Producer Duncan Maddux presenting “Brainwash First Feature” award in 2009 (from behind the screen).


Repurposed trophies that are actually awarded to moviemakers.

image007Phil Snyder, Dave Krzysik and Jimmie Wing at the Brainwash Movie festival at Nimby.  
Stylized image of festival with logo.  

Brainwash_Clody pic.w.titles-use

Clody Cates’ view of Brainwash at Nimby