July and August 2008
The Exploratorium's Film Program presents a summer of films, from meditations on light and shadow to animation, to a documentary on hobo graffiti. All films are screened in the Exploratorium's McBean Theater at 2pm and included in the price of admission to the Exploratorium. The program is as follows:
Saturday, July 19th
Film Program: Umbra and Penumbra
This program is a cinematic meditation of light and shadow in memory and celebration of long time Exploratorium light artist Bob Miller, who died in 2007.
Frame (1990, 3 mins.) by Lew Alquist, observes patterns of reflected and projected light on the surface of an outdoor movie screen over the course of 24 hours, from sunrise to sunset.
Lake Orion (2001, 5 min.) by Michael Walsh, captures the memories of summer swimming and picnicking with family by a lake.
Lightplay: Black-White-Grey (1932, 6 min.) by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, used the Light Prop, one of his installations, to create what is perhaps his most famous film. The film follows the Light Prop’s movement in close-up, resulting in an abstract interplay of reflective surfaces, beams of light and dramatic shadows. Moholy likened the film to a "moving painting," much like Bob Miller's Sun Painting, an installation at the Exploratorium.
Free Radicals (1958, 5 min.) by renowned experimental animator Len Lye, is made by scratching patterns into black film stock, capturing the rhythms of moving light and the illusion of three-dimensional space.
Saturday, July 26th
Film Program: The Animated Mind
Ryan (2004, 13 min.) directed by Chris Landreth, is an animated tribute to animator Ryan Larkin, who produced some of the most influential animated films of his time, some 30 years ago, at the National Film Board of Canada. This original, hand-animated film creates a psychological world is which people appear bizarre, humorous, and disturbing. Winner of the Academy Award for best animated short in 2004.
Mindscape (1976, 7 min.) by Jacques Drouin, creates a world, using pinscreen animation techniques, in which an artist steps inside his painting and wanders about in a landscape peopled with symbols that trigger unexpected associations.
Saturday, August 2nd
Film Program: Between the Imagined and the Real
The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation (2005, 30 min.) by John Canemaker and Peggy Stern, is an autobiographical animated film exploring the difficult emotional terrain of father/son relationships as seen through Canemaker's own turbulent relationship with his father. Featuring the voices of noted actors Eli Wallach and John Turturro in the roles of father and son, this film combines memory, fact, conjecture, audio recordings, photos, and original animation to tell the story of an Italian immigrant's troubled life and the devastating consequences of his actions on his family. Winner of the Academy Award for animated short in 2005.
Washing Walls with Mrs. G (1980, 6 min.) by Tony Buba, chronicles an afternoon spent with the filmmaker's grandmother who tells stories from the past. Tony's mother and grandmother were both born in Tursi, Italy. This short simple film is a loving and humorous portrait of family.
Saturday, August 9th
Film Program: Shared Secrets
Lost and Found (2006, 16 min.) by San Francisco independent filmmaker Natalija Vekic, tells the story of an imaginative, twelve-year-old girl named Lolly, who fills a void in her life by collecting found objects and making up stories about them. Over the course of one day, Lolly unravels the mystery of a found letter. Through the small gesture of returning the letter to the rightful owner, two strangers show each other nurturing and empathy as they uncover and share of a moment of grief. Winner of the San Francisco International Film Festival 2006 Golden Gate Award.
Saturday, August 16th
Film Program: On the Margins
Ever feel like school just wasn't your thing? Come watch an intriguing mash-up of several films that examine outsiders, misfits, and mavericks in the field of learning and education. We'll look at democratically-run schools where the kids make all the rules, music camps for misfit rockers, we'll even explore our own museum's legacy as a place where misfits have made a home for themselves.
For the Curious Ones (2008, 20 min.) by Bryan J. Welch, is a premier screening of a short documentary focused on the Exploratorium's local on-site youth program. Every semester, the Exploratorium hires a few dozen high school students who serve as the floor staff of the museum, where they answer questions, explain exhibits, operate lasers, and dissect cow eyeballs. This documentary takes a look at the Explainer program -- part job, part science academy, part family -- and finds out why alumni call their experience "the best job ever."
This program will also include clips from various archival and contemporary documentaries.
Saturday, August 23rd
Film Program: Hobo Graffiti
Who is Bozo Texino? (2007, 58 min.) by Bill Daniel, chronicles the search for the source of a ubiquitous and mythic rail graffiti -- a simple sketch of a character with an infinity-shaped hat and the scrawled moniker, "Bozo Texino" -- a drawing seen on railcars for over 80 years. Daniel's gritty black-and-white film uncovers a secret society and its underground universe of hobo and railworker graffiti, and includes interviews with legendary boxcar artists Coaltrain, Herby, Colossus of Roads, and The Rambler. Shooting over a 16-year period, Daniel rode freights across the West carrying a Super-8 sound camera and a 16mm Bolex. During his quest, he discovered the roots of a folkloric tradition that has gone mostly unnoticed for a century. Taking inspiration from Beat artists Robert Frank and Jack Kerouac, the film functions as both a sub-cultural documentary and a stylized fable on wanderlust and outsider identity.