Cinematic study of Bay Area fog inaugurates new Off the Screen Film Series
Swirling, shifting, almost otherworldly, fog is a defining characteristic of San Francisco’s environment, and a subject of intrigue for meteorologists, writers and artists. On October 2 and 3, the Exploratorium will host the world premiere of Fog City, a meditation on the beauty and mystery of the Bay Area’s fog, by Cinema Artist-in-Residence and documentary filmmaker Sam Green. During four screenings, at 7pm and 9pm on October 2 and 3, Green will provide live narration and New York-based band The Quavers will play original music composed for the film.
“It’s just this white mass, it’s almost like an animal or some kind of weird presence…it defines the identity of the city,” says Green describing San Francisco fog in a recorded interview. “Everybody that lives there has a relationship to fog—many people hate it, many people love it. So it’s a fascinating aesthetic experience, and a social experience.”
Fog City is the first film in the new Cinema Arts series Off the Screen: A Salon for Cinephiles, at 7pm, Wednesdays in the Exploratorium’s Kanbar Forum. Films in the series will range from feature-length documentaries to animated shorts and are accompanied by live performances, demonstrations, and engaging discussions in this weekly series. Evocative and experimental works are the focus, as well as collaborations with local filmmakers. Upcoming Off the Screen events include the premiere of Light Year by Paul Clipson, an Exploratorium-commissioned abstract 16mm film study of the area surrounding the museum’s new waterfront site at Pier 15.
Created in collaboration with cinematographer Andy Black, the work takes a poetic view of a complex natural phenomenon that for many months each year defines the psycho-geography of the region. Sam Green’s recent work explores the potential of live performance as a way to expand the documentary beyond traditional audience experiences. Green’s previous live documentaries, The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller and Utopia in Four Acts, were showcased at venues including the San Francisco International Film Festival, The Kitchen in New York, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. In 2004, Green’s feature-length documentary, The Weather Underground, received an Academy Award nomination in addition to premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and being featured in the Whitney Biennial.
About Sam Green
Sam Green is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who received his master's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied documentary filmmaking with acclaimed filmmaker Marlon Riggs. His most recent projects are the "live" documentaries: Utopia in Four Movements (2010) and The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, which premiered May 1, 2012, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival. Both works were performed live, with Green narrating and musicians performing the soundtrack. Green's 2004 feature-length film, the Academy Award-nominated documentary, The Weather Underground, tells the story of a group of radical young women and men who tried to violently overthrow the United States government during the late 1960s and '70s. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has screened widely around the world. Green currently teaches at the University of San Francisco and the San Francisco Art Institute and has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony, the Bellagio Study and Conference Center, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts.