LA Film Forum Logo

The Weightless Ventriloquist Saga

The Weightless Ventriloquist Saga is a limited series of four feature length films exploring the house of mirrors of our unconscious minds.   Disguised as an episodic sci-fi television series, joining live actors with vintage and artist-made puppets, each of the films is in reality a documentary / fiction hybrid of its own making, intermingling paranormal mysteries with thought-provoking meditations and cultural history. Featuring a hallucinatory kaleidoscope of film clips, it expands the possibility of archival documentary and pushes the essay film into exciting new territory.

The fictional framing series is called The Psycho Ward.  At once humorous and serious, each episode features a psychiatrist’s case study in which its host -- an eccentric psychoanalyst named Dr. Labyrinth  -- helps uncover the forgotten past of his patient. Through the uncovered memories, a cultural history is revealed.

The subjects covered include:  ventriloquism, living dolls, artificial life, and schizophrenia, viewed through the prism of both classic and “less-than-classic” cinema.

The Weightless Ventriloquist Saga is a rare cross-over phenomenon that sits comfortably with art-house, cult film, academic, and mainsteam audiences. 

The first film, The Case of the Vanishing Gods, is complete and slated for premier in late summer, 2021.

The second film, The Prometheus Complex, is currently in development.


Ross Lipman is an independent filmmaker, archivist, and essayist. His films have screened throughout the world and been collected by museums and institutions including the Academy Film Archive, Anthology Film Archives, Northeast Historic Film, the Oberhausen Kurzfilm Archive, Budapest's Balazs Bela Studios, and Munich's Sammlung Goetz. His feature documentary, Notfilm, was named one of the 10 best films of the year by ARTFORUM, SLATE, and many others.  He is a three time winner of the Heritage Award from the National Society of Film Critics.

“one of the most original essay film artists now working in the U.S.  I don’t know of another body of work even remotely similar to his.” – Thom Andersen, director, Los Angeles Plays Itself

For further information: /