Photo by Joe Mazza


JULIA VANARSDALE MILLER is a director, puppeteer, and graphic designer based in Chicago, IL. She is one of the founders and Co-Artistic Directors of Manual Cinema, a cinematic shadow puppet company founded in 2010.

With Manual Cinema she is a performer and puppet designer as well as director of several shows including Mementos Mori and The End of TV. Their work has been performed around the world at The Public Theatre (NYC), The Kennedy Center (DC), The Detroit Institute of ArtThe Tehran International Puppetry Festival (Iran), The Noorderzon Festival (Netherlands), the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), and The Adelaide Festival (Australia).

Julia has created videos for The Poetry Foundation, The New York TimesStoryCorpsThird Coast Audio FestivalCurious CityThe Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Chicago History Museum.

Instagram @thejuliamiller



“Swipe To Kill: Post-Henson Puppetry”
Mementos Mori Interview with Director Julia VanArsdale Miller and Sarah A. Spitz, Santa Monica Daily Press April 2019

“Chicagoans of the Year: Directors of Manual Cinema have created a whole new art form”
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune December 2018

“With puppets, projections and a Rust Belt story, Manual Cinema works magic”
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune The End of TV, July 2018

Manual Cinema’s Julia Miller Discusses The Company’s Strange, Meticulous Theatre of Creating Films in Real Time Flavorwire, January 2017

“Mariko’s Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure’ at The Kennedy Center’s Family Theater”
Kendall Mostafavi, D.C. Metro Theatre ArtsOctober, 2015