For more than twenty years, Robert Schaller has been making films that are fundamentally concerned with two essential aspects of filmmaking: the materiality of the film medium itself, and the creation of "visual music" through applying the formal structures of music to filmmaking. His approach is based on the fact that film, consisting merely of a transparent strip of plastic that can be held in the hand and seen with an unaided eye, is accessible to the artist in a direct and tactile way. He has been a pioneer in re-envisioning the industrial model of celluloid filmmaking into an embodied human-scale practice for the individual artist who seeks greater control of the means of artistic production. His is an anti-consumer world of filmmaking in which the work of creating and re-conceiving the materials, tools, and methods of the medium on a personal non-industrial scale is as essential to the art as are the images light casts on a screen after passing through it.

His current projects center around making silver emulsion and hand-coating it onto film, then shooting it in an imprecise handmade pinhole camera of his own design. He shoots according to precisely composed camera scores to visually constellate the world around him into elegant and often elusive visual forms, addressing issues of human nature and our relationship to the natural world both within and around us.

Schaller draws on an eclectic set of experiences to inform and create his work. He derives a knowledge of science, math, and laboratory technique from early experiences as a research assistant at the Max Plank Institute fur Biophysikalische Chemie in Goettingen, West Germany, and as a lab technician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. He went on to study music composition and ancient languages (Latin and Greek) as an undergraduate, earning a BA in Classics in 1990 from the University of Colorado, Boulder, then earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Art also from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1997, where he focused on combining film, music, and performance. He studied there with legendary experimental filmmakers Stan Brakhage and Phil Solomon.

His films have screened all over the United States and Europe, and in Australia. He has taught at numrous Universities, including the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of Colorado, Boulder, and has been a visiting artist and lecturer at numerous institutions including Johns Hopkins University, Pitzer College, the University of San Francisco, the University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University, the San Francisco Film Arts Foundation, and the Northwest Film Forum. As the founder and director of the Handmade Film Institute, he has led retreats and workshops in Cornwall, UK, in Jamaica, on Orcas Island, Washington, and regularly in the wilderness of Colorado and in the mountains outside Boulder, Colorado.

Schaller lives in the mountains outside of Boulder, Colorado, where he founded and runs the Handmade Film Institute. More of his films and writings can be seen at