Zachary Zahos


Teaching Assistant



2150 Vilas Hall

My research focuses on the forms and circulations of global art cinema, classical Hollywood cinema, and experimental film and video. I am currently writing a dissertation that explores the contemporary history (ca. 1980-2020) of “art house” film distribution in the United States, telling the story of how small distributors have remained independent, solvent, and essential to film culture against an industrial backdrop of media conglomeration. I am most interested in how these small companies have innovated in the releasing of specialty cinema (e.g., international, repertory, documentary, indie films) via novel approaches to theatrical, home video, and streaming, and how these strategies have impacted larger discourses around authorship, identity, and independence.


  • M.A. Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2018
  • B.A. English/Performing & Media Arts, Cornell University, 2015

Courses Taught

  • CA 155 — Introduction to Digital Media Production
  • CA 313 — Documentary on the Edge: Between Fact and Fiction
  • CA 350 — Introduction to Film
  • CA 355 — Introduction to Media Production
  • CA 467 — Cinematography and Sound Recording

Selected Publications

  • Zahos, Z. “Two Friends: Circumstances of a Historic Feminist Collaboration.” ReFocus: The Films of Jane Campion. Edinburgh: EUP, 2023. 37-53.

Conferences/Invited Talks

  • “Stranger Memes: Comedy in the Vernacular Avant-Garde,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, Boston, March 2024.
  • “Evergreens vs. Discoveries: Mapping the Contemporary Market for Older Films,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Denver, April 2023.
  • “‘Every time you take on a big release, you risk the whole company: Milestone Films and the Stakes of Boutique Distribution,” Communication Arts Film Colloquium, UW-Madison, February 2023.
  • “Internet Memes and the Vernacular Avant-Garde: A ‘Steamed Hams’ Case Study,” University of Chicago Department of Cinema and Media Studies Graduate Student Conference, Virtual, April 2022.
  • “The Power and Pragmatics of Licensing Coalitions: The Criterion Channel, OVID, and Other Art House Streaming Platforms,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Virtual, April 2022.
  • “Before the Boom: Early Zooms from 1927-1935 and Their Stylistic Legacy,” Film & History Conference, Madison, November 2019.
  • “Memed Hams: YouTube Appropriations of The Simpsons and the Vernacular Avant-Garde,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Seattle, March 2019.

Professional Experience

  • Project Assistant, Wisconsin Center for Theater and Film Research, 2023-Present.
  • Submissions Editor, The Velvet Light Trap, 2020-2021.
  • Project Assistant, UW-Cinematheque and Wisconsin Film Festival, 2018-2020.
  • DVD/Blu-ray Producer, Milestone Film & Video, 2017-2019.


  • Graduate School Fellowship, Summer 2023
  • Weaver Excellence Award, 2022
  • Graduate School Fellowship, Spring 2022
  • Robert J. Wickhem Award in Media Production, 2021
  • Helen K. Herman Memorial Fund Scholarship, 2020
  • Charles Chester Pearce Scholarship in Film, 2019


  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies, 2018 to Present.
  • Missing Movies, Advisory Board, 2023 to Present.