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Geneva Anderson digs into art

“Constellation,” a world premiere collaboration between artist Jim Campbell and choreographer Alonzo King celebrates LINES Ballet’s 30th Season

Jim Campbell. “Exploded Views” 2011; 2880 LEDs, custom electronics. Choreography: Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Courtesy of the Artist and Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco and New York. Photo: courtesy SFMOMA

If you saw one of San Francisco-based artist Jim Campbell’s “Exploded Views” installations in the atrium of SFMOMA this past year, chances are you couldn’t forget it.  SFMOMA’s Hass Auditorium came alive as thousands of flickering LED spheres hanging from the ceiling, created the illusion of fleeting shadowlike figures that dissolved and resolved as one moved around and beneath the suspended, chandelier-like matrix. Part sculpture, part cinematic screen, the low resolution pieces flirted with the line between representation and abstraction and sucked viewers right into
another world, one where imagination and memory fill in the gaps between what you see and what you think you see to create a complete story.  The first film in this series of 4 was a collaboration with Alonzo King’s celebrated LINES Ballet of San Francisco, and, if you positioned yourself on SFMOMA’s second floor landing, you could see magical low res images of King’s dancers moving across the expanse of air and light.  Cinematic, elegant, unforgettable.

Now, the two artists are collaborating again as the exciting kick-off of Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s 30th anniversary year.  Campbell’s new installation created for the world premiere of “Constellation” is a 20 x 36 foot low res moving image that incorporates a thousand little LED globes hanging in strings like pearls suspended from the light-grid of the LAM Research Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.  The dancers constantly move through these strands and interact with the LED balls which serve as pixels for the large images on the screen in the background and a smaller screen in the foreground.  The smaller screen, 9 x 12 feet, moves up and down.  At times, it is at the level of the dancers and, at times, suspended 10 feet off the ground, above them.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet celebrates its 30th Season with “Constellation,” a collaboration between artist Jim Campbell and choreographer Alonzo King. Campbell and King appear in a pre-performance conversation about their collaboration on October 24, 2012. Image courtesy: LINES Ballet

“I was very interested in having the dancers play with and manipulate a physical image,” said Campbell. “It was more about them becoming a part of the images and playing with that boundary.  There are times when the nine dancers have part of the image in their hands because they are carrying the balls in their hands.”

Adding to the performance, San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow and mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani will sing music of Handel, Richard Strauss, and Vivaldi.

Pre-Performance Balcony Talk:  Tomorrow evening (Wednesday, October 24, 2012) prior to the performance, an exclusive conversation in the balcony will take place between artist Jim Campbell and Alonzo King, followed by a Q & A, where audience members will have a chance to ask these two artists about their collaboration.

Stay-tuned to ARThound for an interview with Jim Campbell about this exciting new installation and his collaboration with Alonzo King LINES Ballet.

Details: Performances are Wed | Oct 24 | 7:30pm —Pre-Performance Balcony Talk with Alonzo King and Jim Campbell (6:30pm)

Thu | Oct 25 | 7:30 pm;   Fri | Oct 26 | 8 pm;   Sat | Oct 27 | 8 pm;   and Sun | Oct 28 | 5 pm.

LAM Research Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is located at 700 Howard Street, at Third Street, San Francisco

General Admission tickets-$65, $55, $40, $30; Student Tickets – $20 – Limited number of student tickets for Oct 24 (ID required.)   To purchase tickets online, click here.

 

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October 23, 2012 Posted by | Art, Dance | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ensemble Parallèle Presents “The Great Gatsby,” a chamber opera with the swagger and pizzazz of the roaring ‘20’s─at Yerba Buena Center, February 10-12, 2012

Beautiful, haughty, seductive, manipulative, wearied, and indulged to excess….the iconic Daisy Buchanan is played by Soprano Susannah Biller, a former SF Opera Adler Fellow, in Ensemble Parallèle’s new chamber opera, "The Great Gatsby," at Yerba Buena's Novellus Theatre February 10-12, 2012. Photo: courtesy Rapt

Ensemble Parallèle is bringing what promises to be a very  inventive contemporary opera to Yerba Buena Center’s Novellus Theatre this coming Friday-Sunday (February 10-12, 2012):  the world premiere of Jacques Desjardins’ chamber orchestration of composer John Harbison’sThe Great Gatsby.”   Based on the beloved 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the opera was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to celebrate James Levine’s 25th anniversary as its musical director.  It premiered in 1999, with just one subsequent performance at the Lyric Opera in Chicago, mainly because it called for an orchestra of 120 musicians.  Aware of the need to make Harbison’s important work accessible to performing groups, Ensemble Parallèle, a professional ensemble-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, embraced the project and commissioned its re-orchestration from 120 to 30 musicians, keeping the rich sound of Harbison’s music─ which includes 17 original vernacular pieces─tangos, Charlestons, jazz songs─not your traditional opera to begin with.   The cast includes 11 singers─some very well known in the Bay Area and some newcomers.  This is the first time in ten years that the piece, which opened to mixed reviews at the Met, will be performed on stage and it is Ensemble Parallèle’s most ambitious project to date.  Recognizing music’s power to transform and raise consciousness, this presentation of a classic, with some story enhancements, with should be an exciting event.   If you haven’t been to an opera before, the best thing to do is literally jump in─get tickets and go!  At 2.25 minutes with one intermission, and all in English, this opera—jazzy and emotionally gripping─should be a great introduction for newcomers.   And, if you haven’t been to Yerba Buena Center’s modern Novellus Theatre for a performance, you’re in for a treat.  Unlike San Francisco Opera, these seats are much more user friendly and the site lines are exceptional. 

The cast looks fabulous.  Lyric tenor Marco Panuccio, a newcomer to the Bay Area, is Jay Gatsby.  Panuccio portrayed Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon for Lyric Opera of Chicago.  Soprano Susannah Biller, a Bay Area favorite and former SF Opera Adler Fellow, with a rich and powerful voice, who portrayed Eurydice in Ensemble Parallèle’s spring 2011 production of Philip Glass’ Orphée, is Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby’s fixation.  Baritone Jason Detwiler, who played St. Plan in Ensemble Parallèle’s summer 2011 production of Four Saints in Three Acts, is Nick Caraway, the opera’s narrator.  Casting also includes tenor Dan Snyder as Tom Buchanan, Disy’s husband; baritone Bojan Knezevic as the machanic George Wilson; mezzo soprano Erin Neff as his wife Myrtle Wilson and mezzo-soprano Julienne Walker as Jordan Baker.  All come together to present the gripping story—in music─of a very shallow lot of characters who make a tragic mess of their indulgent lives.  The setting is deco and the drama transpires against the colorful backdrop of the roaring ‘20’s, when American society enjoyed great prosperity, endured Prohibition and the dance music of the day was jazz. 

Gatsby marks the fourth major presentation of fully-staged contemporary chamber operas by Ensemble Parallèle’s duo–Artistic Director/Conductor Nicole Paiement and Stage Director and Production Designer Brian Staufenbiel.  Gatsby follows last year’s Orphée by Philip Glass, Alban Berg’s Wozzeck in 2010 and Lou Harrison’s Young Caesar in 2007–all to acclaim from audiences and critics.  Last August, in conjunction with SFMOMA’s fabulous The Steins Collect, Ensemble Parallèle presented a critically acclaimed production of the rarely performed Four Saints in Three Acts by composer Virgil Thompson and librettist Gertrude Stein. (Read ARThound’s coverage here.)

Paiement founded Ensemble Parallèle in 1994 to perform new music and to collaborate with various artists such as dancers, choreographers, and visual and multimedia artists— as the Ensemble’s name suggests, in parallel.  These collaborations have allowed Ensemble Parallèle to reach a wider-ranging and younger audience.  In 2007 Ensemble Parallèle began to focus exclusively on contemporary chamber opera, producing works with vitality, edge, and appeal, so important in world of opera.

Gatsby Insights at 7:15 PM, prior to each performance

Run-time: 2.25 hours with one intermission

Sung in English/English Supertitles

Details:  All performances are held at Novellus Theatre, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco, 94103

Friday, February 10, 2012
 – 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 11, 2012 – 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 12, 2012 – 
2:00 PM

Tickets are $35 to $85 and are on sale at the YBCA Box Office.  Call 415-978-2787 or order online at: 
 http://tickets.ybca.org/single/psDetail.aspx?psn=14309

A Fitzgerald gem to ponder:  

I was thirty. Before me stretched the portentous, menacing road of a new decade.

It was seven o’clock when we got into the coupe with him and started for Long Island. Tom talked incessantly, exulting and laughing, but his voice was as remote from Jordan and me as the foreign clamor on the sidewalk or the tumult of the elevated overhead. Human sympathy has its limits, and we were content to let all their tragic arguments fade with the city lights behind. Thirty – the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning brief-case of enthusiasm, thinning hair.  But there was Jordan beside me, who, unlike Daisy, was too wise ever to carry well-forgotten dreams from age to age.  As we passed over the dark bridge her wan face fell lazily against my coat’s shoulder and the formidable stroke of thirty died away with the reassuring pressure of her hand.

So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight. (Nick,  The Great Gatsby, Chapter 7, pp 307-309)

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Opera | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SFMOMA presents “Four Saints in Three Acts: An Opera Installation,” at YBCA’s Novellus Theater, August 18 through 21, 2011

Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein looking over the score for Four Saints in Three Acts, ca. 1929; Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Library, Yale University; photo: Mabel Thérèse Bonney

Among the outtakes from Woody Allen’s recent hit film Midnight in Paris might well have been a scene showing Gertrude Stein being asked by the obscure young American composer Virgil Thomson to create an opera libretto for him.  There, in Paris in 1927, began one of America’s quirkiest creative partnerships, yielding not only the unique, wacky, and strangely moving operas Four Saints in Three Acts (1934) and The Mother of Us All (1947), but opening the floodgates for new modernist thought in music, literature, and art in America.

Stein’s typically nonlinear libretto for Four Saints, more focused on the sounds of words than on plot, is a sort of fractured fairy tale starring two 16th-century Spanish saints—the theologian Ignatius of Loyola and the mystic Teresa of Avila—and a gaggle of imaginary cohorts (St. Plan, St. Settlement, St. Plot, St. Chavez, etc.) who have visions of a heavenly mansion, enjoy a celestial picnic, and dance a tango-inflected ballet.  Thomson’s accessible music draws upon the snappy rhythms of American speech and the warm melodic shapes of American folksongs and hymns. 

On the occasion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s major exhibition The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Bay Area Now 6 (BAN6), SFMOMA in association with YBCA will present a new production of Stein and Thomson’s opera. The new version, titled Four Saints in Three Acts: An Opera Installation, will play at YBCA’s Novellus Theater this Thursday, August 18, through Sunday, August 21, 2011.  The 50 minute performance will be preceded by a “A Heavenly Act” (2011), a brand new stand-alone curtain-raiser with an original score by Luciano Chessa and new video and performance elements by Kalup Linzy, inspired by a streamlined 1950s version of Thomson and Stein’s opera.  Four Saints, which follows it, will be augmented by video projections from Chessa and Linzy’s opening piece.

Four Saints is vintage Thomson/Stein, simultaneously All-American and countercultural,” said New York opera dramaturg Cori Ellison.  “Avant-garde yet sweetly ingenuous, it’s always been a magnet for the most imaginative theatre and visual artists, from Robert Wilson and Mark Morris on down.  I’d say any performance of this rare and charming opera is a must-see.”

SFMOMA in Association with YBCA Presents:  Four Saints in Three Acts: An Opera Installation

An Ensemble Parallèle production

     Nicole Paiement, conductor/artistic director

     Brian Staufenbiel, director

Music by Virgil Thomson and Luciano Chessa, with libretto by Gertrude Stein

Featuring Kalup Linzy

Novellus Theater at YBCA

Preview: Thursday, August 18, 7:30 p.m.

Friday and Saturday, August 19 and 20, 8 p.m.

Sunday, August 21, 2 p.m.

For tickets ($10–$85) visit ybca.org or call 415.978.2787

The Art of Four Saints in Three Acts, gallery talk

Thursday, August 18, 6:30 p.m. • Contemporary Jewish Museum, Free with museum admission

See original music, art, and ephemera connected with the Gertrude Stein-Virgil Thompson collaboration Four Saints in Three Acts in a gallery talk directly preceding the preview performance of SFMOMA’s new staging of the opera at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories exhibition at Contemporary Jewish Museum, May 12, 2011 – September 6, 2011:

Drawing upon a wealth of rarely seen artistic and archival materials, Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories illuminates Stein’s life and pivotal role in art during the 20th century.

SFMOMA exhibition: The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde, through September 6, 2011

American expatriates in bohemian Paris when the 20th century was young, the Steins — writer Gertrude, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael’s wife, Sarah — were among the first to recognize the talents of avant-garde painters like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Through their friendship and patronage, they helped spark an artistic revolution. This landmark exhibition draws on collections around the world to reunite the Steins’ unparalleled holdings of modern art, bringing together, for the first time in a generation, dozens of works by Matisse, Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and many others. Artworks on view include Matisse’s Blue Nude (Baltimore Museum of Art) and Self-Portrait (Statens Museum, Copenhagen), and Picasso’s famous portrait Gertrude Stein (Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Yerba Buena Neighborhood Celebrates Gertrude Stein, May–September, 2011

Join the Yerba Buena neighborhood this summer in celebrating the life of writer Gertrude Stein and her influence on modern art, literature, and culture. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival will each host related programming: from art exhibitions to opera, poetry readings to salons, there’s definitely a there there. Visit  www.sfmoma.org/celebratestein   for a complete list of programs, discounts, and members-only specials throughout the neighborhood.

August 15, 2011 Posted by | Opera | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BYOF—build your own festival: Pick across the many film festivals in San Francisco right now and explore a topic or country in depth

It seems like each March brings an explosion of film festivals to the Bay Area and shifting through the programming can be time-consuming.  By mixing and matching programming across festivals though, you can BYOF—build your festival…and it’s well worth it!   Right now, the 29th annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) is screening 108 feature films, documentaries and videos from all points of the globe Asian and across town, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is offering the Human Rights Watch Film Festival every Thursday evening in March and Iran Beyond Censorship from March 20-27, 2011.  By combining programming from these three festivals, you can meet very specific intersts.  Here’s a small sample of  what’s available for consumption this weekend and in March:

Let’s say you have an interest in Cambodia.   By catching “Resident Aliens” (SFIAAFF) at 7:30 pm on Saturday, March 13 you can see the shocking true story of three twenty-something Cambodian Americans whose American dream crumbled when they became young adult felons and, after serving out prison terms in the U.S., were deported back to Cambodia.  Ross Tuttle’s 2010 documentary tells how these three young adults immigrated to the United States as children during the Cambodian genocide.  All three were eligible for citizenship, but remained resident aliens.  Through visits back to the neighborhoods where they grew up,  primarily poor Cambodian communities in inner-cities, it’s easy to see how they fell into into crime.  When Tuttle meets up with them in Phnom Penh, they are virtually alone without family or the language skills to assimilate back into their native culture. Tuttle follows his subjects as they take different approaches to establishing a new life all while struggling with the fact that they can never return to the United States.

Turning to the YBCA’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival, you can then catch “Enemies of the People” on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 7:30 PM at YBCA which takes a riveting look back at the country’s past through the eyes of a very intrepid journalist.  Winner of the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize, Enemies of the People  (2009) follows the intensely personal project of Mr. Thet Sambath, whose parents and brother were among the approximately two million people who perished during the mass killings from 1975 to 1979 at the hands of Cambodia’s Communist Khmer Rouge regime, which was responsible for the deaths of nearly a quarter of the small country’s population.  With unprecedented access achieved patiently over years, he gently coaxes groundbreaking confessions from Nuon Chea, the notorious ‘Brother Number Two,’ (Pol Pot’s second in command) and from numerous grassroots killers, now frail seniors living out their final days.  As Sambath juggles between objective reportage and his intense personal desire for healing and understanding, he uncovers terrifying personal explanations for the genocide.  Somehow, operating like a one man Cambodian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he manages to listen calmly to the perpetrators speak casually about slitting throats and extracting and eating human gall bladder.  When he finally does share his truth, the results are healing but ultimately he has lost almost everything dear in life to him.

Who doesn’t love Iranian film?  SFIAAFF29 offers three new films Amin, Dogsweat, and Gold and Copper while YBCA’s Iran Beyond Censorship offers Offside, Close-up, Crimson Gold and The White Meadows. 

Let’s say, within the genre of Iranian film, you are very interested in storytelling.  Homayoun Asaian’s Gold and Copper has garnered much acclaim from audience and critics alike for its poetic rendering of a story involving Seyed, a man studying to be a mullah, and his family who have just relocated to Tehran.  The family game plan is wildly interrupted when they learn that Sayed’s young wife has MS (multiple sclerosis) and is soon to be completely paralyzed.  Sayed has to juggle his studies and the very untraditional tasks of child-care and home management. Screens: Saturday March 12, 2011 at 12:15 PM (Sundance Kabuki) and Sunday March 13, at 7 PM at Viz Cinema.

Looking for something with more edge?  SFIAAFF29 also offers Hossein Keshavarz’s provocative Dogsweat, shot clandestinely throughout Tehran before the 2009 elections.  Using the urgency of cinéma vérité, the lives of six teenagers intertwine in contemporary Iran.  Misunderstood by their families and oppressed by conservative Islamic society, they act out their desires behind closed doors.  A feminist finds herself involved with a married man; new lovers seek out a place to be intimate; a gay man faces an arranged marriage; a female pop singer risks exposure and a grief-stricken son lashes out against fundamentalists.   Dogsweat uses the rich tapestry of storytelling to show Iran the way it truly is right now.  Screens: Saturday March 12, 2011 at 6 PM (Sundance Kabuki) and Wednesday March 16 at 6:45 PM at Viz Cinemas.

Over at YBCA’s Iran Beyond Censorship, Mohammad Rasoulof’s mesmerizing The White Meadows, set in Iran’s mysterious and remote Lake Urmia region, is an allegorical tale about a boatman who travels the salt islands collecting tears in a glass vial.  In the end, all is for not, as the tears collected so carefully are used to bathe the feet of a dying man and then tossed into the sea.  As an allegory for contemporary Iran, a society pressured to empty its very soul and aware of the sad farce imposed upon it, this film does its work.  Rasoulof, 38, from Shiraz, was recently among more than 100 prominent Iranian political figures and activists who were put on a mass trial in Tehran following the crackdown on opposition supporters claiming President Ahmadinejad fraudulently won the June 2009 election.  Rasoulof was imprisoned in March of this year and released March 18, 2010, just before the New Year holiday on March 21, 2010. Despite his and other prominent Iranian filmmakers’ tricky relationship with the post-revolutionary powers that be, the Iranian film industry manages, under extreme repression, to produce over 60 films annually and you can see three of them at the Yerba Buena Center later this month.  The White Meadows screens March 29, 2011 at 4 PM at YBCA screening room.

Details: 

29th annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival:  Screenings are at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, Viz Cinema, Landmark Clay Theatre, Japantown Peace Plaza, Castro Theatre and VIZ Cinema in San Francisco, and in San Jose at Camera 12 Cinemas and in Berkeley at Pacific Film Archive.  Tickets for most events are $10 to $12.  For details, call (415) 865-1588 or http://caamedia.org/  

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Human Rights Watch Film Festival at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, (across the street from SFMOMA), San Francisco, CA 94103.  Several reasonably priced parking garages are located within one block of YBCA.   Human Rights Watch Film Festival screens Thursday evenings, March 10-31, 2011.  Tickets: $8 regular; $6 students, seniors, teachers and YBCA members.  Same day gallery admission with film ticket.  For more information visit http://www.ybca.org, or call (415) 978-2787. 

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Iran Beyond Censorship:  March 20-27, 2011 at YBCA at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, (across the street from SFMOMA), San Francisco, CA 94103. Several reasonably priced parking garages are located within one block of YBCA.   Iran Beyond Censorship screens March Human Rights Watch Film Festival screens March 20, 25, and 27 at various times. Tickets: $8 regular; $6 students, seniors, teachers and YBCA members.  Same day gallery admission with film ticket.  For more information visit http://www.ybca.org/iran-beyond-censorship#overview  or call (415) 978-2787.

March 12, 2011 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Human Rights Watch Film Festival delivers a powerful message, at Yerba Buena Center Thursday evenings through March 31, 2011

For the last ten years, every March, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts has presented the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, bringing a remarkable selection of films with human rights themes to the Bay Area.  This year’s festival begins Thursday, March 10, with the 74 minute “Youth Producing Change,” 10 powerful videos produced by youths across the globe that document their own lives and a human rights crisis they experience every day.  The 11 short films were chosen from among 300 submissions by a partnership of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, and the program’s sponsor, Adobe Youth Voices, an educational effort funded by the charitable arm of the software company Adobe Systems.   The filmmakers will be in attendance for Q & A after the film.  The festival will continue screening a new film every Thursday evening in March, for a total of 4 films.   

The Human Right Watch Festival was begun 22 years ago by Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending human rights by focusing attention when rights are violated and giving a voice to the oppressed.   The films in the festival were selected for both their artistic merit and human rights content and each poignantly addresses current situations.

This year’s full-length films include a Sundance award winning documentary about the Cambodian genocide, a moving profile of the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s battle for more humane U.S. immigration policy, and an apalling look at prison conditions in Angola.  Painstakingly clear in all of these films is that there are powerful interests working to hide the truth about when and where atrocities occur.  Film creates a forum for brave individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference.  Joel Shepard, Film/Video Curator at YBCA explained that YBCA is currently refining its programming to address “engagement, not passive consumption” and that this festival fits neatly into YBCA’s “Encounter” Big Idea that presents works engaged with a social context.

Youth Producing Change, March 10, 2011, 7:00 pm, YBCA Screening Room 

Teen filmmakers turn the camera on their own struggles for human rights and invite audiences to experience the world as they do — as a Kenyan teenager living in Africa’s second largest slum, as a 15-year-old girl in India who needs to chose between supporting her family or getting an education or as a 14-year-old Afghan seeking asylum after his father was killed by the Taliban. Youth Producing Change shares ten powerful stories made by teens from across the globe as they share their vision of change. Adobe Youth Voices, Founding Presenter. (2010, 74 min, digital)  )  Audio Interview with Youth Producing Change Filmmakers    BUY TICKETS »

Enemies Of  The People, March 17, 2011, 7:30 pm YBCA Screening Room

By Rob Lemkin And Thet Sambath 

 Winner of the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize,

Enemies of the People follows the intensely personal project of Mr. Thet Sambath, whose parents and brother were among the approximately two million people who perished during the mass killings from 1975 to 1979 at the hands of Cambodia’s Communist  Khmer Rouge regime, which was responsible for the deaths of nearly a quarter of the small country’s population.  With unprecedented access achieved patiently over years, he gently coaxes groundbreaking confessions from Nuon Chea, the notorious ‘Brother Number Two,’ (Pol Pot’s second in command) and from numerous grassroots killers, now frail seniors living out their final days.  As Sambath juggles between objective reportage and his intense personal desire for healing and understanding, he uncovers terrifying personal explanations for the genocide.  Somehow, operating like a one man Cambodian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he manages to listen calmly to the perpetrators speak casually about slitting throats and extracting and eating human gall bladder.  When he finally does share his truth, the results are healing but ultimately he has lost almost everything dear in life to him.  (2009, 94 min, digital)   BUY TICKETS »

 
 
 
 
 

Last Best Chance by directors Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson (2010) is a documentary that lays out the stakes in the foiled fight for U.S. immigration reform in the post-9/11 era.

 

Last Best Chance, March 24, 2011, 7:30 pm, YBCA Screening Room

By Michael Camerini And Shari Robertson

Last Best Chance is a documentary that lays out the stakes in the foiled fight for U.S. immigration reform in the post-9/11 era. The title refers to the comprehensive reform bill that was seen by its supporters as the “last best chance” this nation would have to get this right for a long time, and the film drives home what was lost when it failed to pass it.  It brilliantly presents a political legend, Senator Edward Kennedy, in his final battle for legislation that he believes would best serve US interests and provide greater security and dignity to many of the 20 million people currently living in the shadows. Senator Kennedy joins forces with talented allies on the outside to marshal fellow Senators Obama, Clinton, Menendez, Kyl and McCain toward a ‘Grand Bargain.’  But deep at the heart of this fast-moving story, below the level of strategy and protocol, we find a moral tale of modern American politics. (2010, 100 min, digital)  BUY TICKETS »

 In The Land of the Free…   March 31, 2011, 7:30 pm, YBCA Screening Room

By Vadim Jean
Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King—the Angola 3—have spent a combined century in solitary confinement in Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Targeted by prison officials for being members of the Black Panther Party and for fighting against terrible prison conditions, they were convicted of the murder of a prison guard, a verdict they continue to challenge and for which new evidence continues to emerge. In the Land of the Free… presents their ongoing story as dramatic events continue to unfold. Narrated by Samuel L Jackson (2009, 84 min, digital) BUY TICKETS »

Details:  Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, (across the street from SFMOMA), San Francisco, CA 94103. Several reasonably priced parking garages are located within one block of YBCA.   Human Rights Watch Film Festival screens Thursday evenings, March 10-31, 2011.  Tickets: $8 regular; $6 students, seniors, teachers and YBCA members.  Same day gallery admission with film ticket.  For more information visit www.ybca.org, or call (415) 978-2787.  

 

March 7, 2011 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Around the World in 33 Films” at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center– a rare chance to see the Jeonju Digital Project, February 17-27, 2011

Worldly Desires by (2005) Thai director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2010 Palm d'Or winner at Cannes), is a fragmented short film based on the filmmaker’s memories of the years he spent shooting his feature film Tropical Malady in the jungle. The film screens at YBCA’s “Around the World in 33 Films” on February 24, 2011. Photo: Jeonju Digital Project.

In 2000, Jeonju, a small town in the North Jeolla Province of South Korea known for traditional crafts, became home to a very forward-thinking film festival.  The Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF), held each spring, has emerged as a major independent and art-house film festival that not shows only great films but also funds them.  Every year, since 2,000, the festival has awarded three international filmmakers with 50 million won (US $44,500) each, to make a 30–minute digital film.   The entire series to date of 33 commissioned films by some of the world’s most highly regarded directors will screen at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from February 17 through 27th, 2011.   

The series “Around the World in 33 Films” opens on February 17th with the three films from 2010 and then will be presented in chronological order from 2000 through 2009.  Renowned artists represented include: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Pedro Costa, Naomi Kawase, Bong Joon–Ho, James Benning, Tsai Ming-liang, and 27 more!

Joel Shepard, YBCA Film and Video curator calls the series a “Dare” program.  “The Jeonju International Film Festival has dared to commission films, which very few organizations are willing or able to do anymore. The Festival does not dictate content, yet all of the filmmakers they select are known for making non–commercial, complex and often demanding work.”

James Benning’s Pig Iron (2010) is a meditative half hour look at the steelmaking process, focusing on ladle cars moving molten pig iron out of the blast furnaces that separate it from the slag. Benning uses HD techniques that stretch time, redefining cinematic space while commenting on America’s industrial base. Photo: Jeonju Digital Project

Around The World In 33 Films: The Jeonju Digital Project – 2010

February 17, 2011, 7:30 pm, YBCA Screening Room

The 2010 Program includes:

Pig Iron by James Benning;

Les lignes enemies by Denis Côté

Hold on Rosalind by Matías Piñeiro
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Around The World In 33 Films: The Jeonju Digital Project – 2000 & 2001

February 19, 2011, 7:00 pm, 9:00 pm, YBCA Screening Room

The 2000 Program screens at 7 pm and includes:
http://www.whitelover.com by Park Kwang-su

Dal Segno by Kim Yun-tae

Jin Xing Files by Zhang Yuan
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The 2001 Progam screens at 9 pm and includes:
In Public by Jia Zhangke

A Conversation with God by Tsai Ming-liang

Digitopia by John Akomfrah
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Around The World In 33 Films: The Jeonju Digital Project – 2002 & 2003

February 20, 2011,  2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, YBCA Screening Room

The 2002 Program screens at 2 pm and includes:
Survival Game by Moon Seung–wook

The New YearA Letter From Hiroshima by Suwa Nobuhiro
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 The 2003 Program screens at 4 pm and includes:
Like a Desperado Under the Eaves by Shinji Aoyama

Daf by Bahman Ghobadi

Digital Search by Park Ki–yong
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Around The World In 33 Films: The Jeonju Digital Project – 2004 & 2005

February 24, 2011, 7:00 pm, 9:00 pm, YBCA Screening Room

The 2004 Program screens at 7 pm and includes:
Dance with me to the End of Love by Yu Lik–wai

Influenza by Bong Joon–ho

Mirrored Mind by Ishii Sogo
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The 2005 Program screens at 9 pm and inlcudes:
Haze by Shinya Tsukamoto

Magician(s) by Song Il–gon

Worldly Desires by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
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Around The World In 33 Films: The Jeonju Digital Project – 2006 & 2007

February 26, 2011, 7:00 pm, 9:00 pm, YBCA Screening Room

The 2006 Program screens at 7 pm and includes:
About Love by Darezhan Omirbaev

No Day Off by Eric Khoo

Twelve Twenty by Pen–ek Ratanaruang
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The 2007 Program screens at 9 pm and includes:
Respite by Harun Farocki

The Rabbit Hunters by Pedro Costa

Correspondences by Eugène Green
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Hong sang-soo’s Lost in the Mountains (2009) is filled with the Korean director’s trademark wry humor and honest look at relationships. The film follows writer Misook as she travels to Jeonju to visit her friend Jin-young and her former lover, Sangoak, who have taken up together. Image: Jeonju Digital Project.

Around The World In 33 Films: The Jeonju Digital Project – 2008 & 2009

February 27, 2011, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, YBCA Screening Room

The 2008 Program screens at 2 pm and includes:
The Birthday by Idrissa Ouedraogo

Expectations by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

The Alphabet of My Mother by Nacer Khemir
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The 2009 Program screens at 4 pm and includes:
Lost in the Mountains by Hong Sang–soo

Koma by Naomi Kawase

Butterflies Have No Memories by Lav Diaz
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Details: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street (across the street from SFMOMA), San Francisco, CA, 94103.  Several reasonably-priced parking garages are located within one block of YBCA.  (415)978-2700 or http://www.ybca.org/

February 15, 2011 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Art of the Ad…2010 British Television Advertising Awards screen at Yerba Buena Center this week

Is one of the main reasons you have TiVo to fast forward through the mindless and annoying television ads?  Here are some British TV ads that you won’t mind watching.  They are actually more like short-films, so artfully done in fact that they are being presented on big screens all across America.  The British Television Advertising Awards 2010, screening at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, this Thursday through Sunday, presents a collection of the past year’s most thought-provoking British ads, chosen annually by top advertising executives and producers across the globe.

While this annual program has been available in major cities across the country for some time now, this is the second year that the Yerba Buena Center brings these British commercials and PSA’s to the Bay Area.  There are literally dozens of winners spread across several categories with winners ranging from big names like Volkswagen, McDonald’s and Cadbury, to lesser known names like the (British) Department for Transport .  The winner of the best ad of the year “Life’s for Sharing,” by Saatchi and Saatchi for T-Mobile, features an energetic and spontaneous mass dance-off at the Liverpool Street Station last year.  The clip is part of the “Life’s for Sharing” campaign and cleverly shows just how quickly joy spreads through a crowd, encouraging the viewing audience to share their joy with others – by using their T-Mobile phones.

My personal favorite is a humorous ad for Birdseye Salmon Fish Fingers by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.  A femme fatale salmon fish stick slinks towards two other fish sticks and introduces herself as the new salmon fish finger.  One of the fish fingers asks the other if that means she is all pink underneath and she confirms by unzipping her breadcrumb coating which causes the other sticks to fall flat on their backs in excitement.  Another wonderful one minute Cadbury Dairy Milk (milk chocolate) ad, “Eyebrows,” by Fallon has a young boy and girl seated side by side moving their eyebrows outrageously in sync with music, a simple idea with a creative twist. 

Changing Lives,” a direct response child care ad for Barnardo’s, the UK’s leading children’s charity, by BBH, is the world’s first interactive donation poster.  The poster’s power lies in its subtlety.  It features a seemingly living breathing young girl staring sadly into space with tears running down her face.  Only after money is inserted in the attached collection box, does she look up and slightly smile, showing that our spare change really can change children’s lives.

With their innovative cinematography, slightly to highly familiar subject matter, sometimes explicit and shocking content, humor, and added British twist, these ads are fascinating.  When’s the last time, Superbowl aside, you thought that about American television ads?  The program runs 80 minutes. 

Details:  Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco. Screens Thursday, January 27- Sunday, January 30, 2011:  2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m.  (No 8 p.m. screening on Sunday.)  Tickets: $8 regular; $6 students, seniors, teachers and YBCA members.  For more information visit www.ybca.org, or call (415) 978-2787.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment