Friday, September 23, 2016

Modern Cinema Series at SFMOMA

Last week the SFMOMA held a press briefing in their newly renovated Phyllis Wattis Theater to announce their up-coming Modern Cinema series, taking place on 3 packed weekends in October. Dominic Willsdon, SFMOMA's Curator of Education and Public Practice, & Frank Smigiel, Associate Curator, Performance and Film, discussed the program's themes, along with Noah Cowan, Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society, who was actually at the Toronto International Film Festival but appeared via a choppy Skype call.

With Halloween deliberately in mind, the curators chose many films on the subject of haunting. Their selections reminded me of what would play at an art house cinema in the days before video rentals. The schedule includes art film classics Rashomon & The Seventh Seal, the cult classics Carnival of Souls & Grey Gardens, & notorious experimental works like Sans Soleil & Jean Deilman. The 2nd weekend focuses on Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who will attend all weekend to introduce the screenings. Philip Kaufman & Wayne Wang are also expected as guest presenters. Tickets are available online for individual shows, but as far as I know there are no series passes.

The renovated theater seats 270 & is equipped with film & digital projectors & a Meyer Sound system. The staff made sure we noted the new cupholders. The theater has its own entrance & box office on Minna Street, so that screenings can take place outside of museum hours. The stage has been deepened so that the space is also suitable for live performances.

A couple of the attendees had very specific questions about the versions of the films being shown. When Mr. Cowan was asked what was the best thing he'd seen at TIFF so far, he was eager to name Barry Jenkins's Moonlight & the biopic Jackie.

§ Modern Cinema Press Briefing
Tuesday, September 13, 10:00 am
Phyllis Wattis Theater, SFMOMA

Week 1: Haunted by Cinema | Friday, October 7 - Sunday, October 9
Week 2: Apichatpong Weerasethakul | Thursday, October 13 - Saturday, October 16
Week 3: Haunted Cinema | Friday, October 21, - Sunday October 32
Phyllis Wattis Theater, SFMOMA

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