5/19/17-5/21/17 // CROSSROADS 2017

Friday, May 19th – Sunday, May 21st, 2017
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – Phyllis Wattis Theater
151 3rd Street, San Francisco
$12.00 General Admission / $10.00 for SFMOMA & SF Cinematheque  members

“CROSSROADS . . . is not only a marvelous and wide-ranging film and video festival; under the stewardship of Artistic Director Steve Polta, it has evolved into a vital one for those of us hoping to keep abreast of new directions in the field. It’s also a realm of improbable discovery and surprise. . . . It’s a beautiful thing to get your face blown off, aesthetically speaking.” – Michael Sicinski, Fandor, Keyframe Daily

San Francisco Cinematheque’s CROSSROADS was founded in 2010. Now in its eighth year, the internationally recognized film festival celebrates contemporary artist-made cinema, stimulating aesthetic dialogue between artists and inspiring audiences with rich experiences of experimental film not provided by any other local venue.

CROSSROADS 2017, consisting of nine curated programs of film, video, and performance, will include 59 works by 57 artists representing 15 countries. Major themes of this year’s festival include expressions of rage; resistance to oppression; yearnings for spiritual connection in an alienated and surveilled media-scape; and sensual encounters with visuality and intimate gesture. We are proud to announce that, of these 57 featured artists, 34 are making their CROSSROADS debut in this year’s festival.

CROSSROADS 2017 is presented by San Francisco Cinematheque and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, in association with the Canyon Cinema Foundation.


Program 1: sea to shining sea (we are stuck on this rock)

“The CROSSROADS festival opening program presents restless views of the new American century. Silenced voices of resistance speak across the rising tides and howling winds. Resilient speculative futures emerge from the dystopian present.” —San Francisco Cinematheque

Program 2: Travis Wilkerson, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

This West Coast premiere of Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? will be presented with live on-stage narration by director Travis Wilkerson.

“…one of the most rigorous and intelligent American documentarians…” – Amy Taubin, Artforum

“It’s hard not to experience Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? and not get shivers up your spine — from fear, from anger and from the beauty of Wilkerson’s filmmaking.” – Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice

“In 1946 in Dothan, Alabama, black American Bill Spann was murdered by S.E. Branch, a white southerner, and great-grandfather of filmmaker Travis Wilkerson. Branch suffered no lasting consequences, while Spann’s existence has been all but erased. Wilkerson’s Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (2017) is a harrowing, confrontational, deeply personal documentary investigation of this incident, a Southern Gothic murder mystery directly addressing white racism in America, past and present. Including the filmmaker’s family photos, home movies, news reports, and documents, as well as original interviews and photography of the now-haunted locations Branch and Spann inhabited, the film presents a complex and confessional portrait of lingering family legacies, secrecy, and shame. This powerful work is not to be missed.” – San Francisco Cinematheque

Program 3: a great unknown called trust

“Films presented in consideration of closeness and distances, spiritual grace, of intimacies expressed and longed for. Desires for connection are whispered, dreams lamented. Films as love letters sent across space and time. Considerations of the soul — whispered, howled, unspoken, and sung.” – San Francisco Cinematheque

Program 4: if it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad

“Solids melt. Liquids become gas. Molten forms congeal. All becomes data, organized yet ephemeral. The platonic grid and web succumbs to the entropic physical world. Alternately fascinated with and fearful of the fluidity of capital and the eternity of objects, the films in this program flirt — with highly ambivalent (yet unabashed) thrill — with the allure of the plastic, the eternity of youth, the electro-kick of glitch and game, and the eternal/infernal joy of the perfect pop tune.” – San Francisco Cinematheque

Program 5: Apparent Motion – Live Cinema Works by Britt Al-Busultan, Rose Kallal, and Andrew Puls

With Britt Al-Busultan, Rose Kallal, and Andrew Puls in person

“As classical frame-by-frame filmmaking — the art of plastic images, mechanical media interface, and live projected light — becomes increasingly anachronistic in mainstream festivals and movie halls, performance cinema — an ever-renewing, always present-tense live-art practice born of the ashes of twentieth-century industrial cinema — roars raging once again to center-stage! Apparent Motion, CROSSROADS’ centerpiece live event, celebrates this international phenomenon of sight and sound with live, spatialized, multi-projector film/sound performances by Britt Al-Busultan (Finland) and Rose Kallal (New York), preceded by local master of analog video abstraction, Andrew Puls.” – San Francisco Cinematheque

Program 6: at the foot of a great monument (this ain’t no storybook)

“Lush cinematic lyricism as expansive anti-ethnography; the world breathes in from outside the frame. Realist portraiture as poetry. The program includes eight films on migration, diaspora, rootedness, ritual, cultural/familial bonding, and estrangement, including a view of a reenacted exorcism, presented through a reclaimed colonialist lens; the heroic and traumatic legacies and histories of slavery and resistance in Jamaica and Brazil; an intimate look at life, labor, location, and family in the American South; familial estrangement in Los Angeles; and a moving portrait of Chemehuevi/Anishinaabe poet Diane Burns.” – San Francisco Cinematheque

Program 7: a thought comes into your head (like an object)

“Is it you? This program of works explores strange and liminal spaces, uncanny and unworldly. Fragments of surveilled narratives. Imaginary filmic outtakes. Cinematic renderings or ghosts, phantoms, and spirits. Machine eye vision. Hesitating human forms in dematerialized spaces. Physical and narrative gestures lead to more questions as the tape continues to roll. Are our thoughts our own?” – San Francisco Cinematheque

Program 8: the photon doesn’t give a damn

“Ranging from subtle emulsive photochemical magic and found footage poetry to aggressively asserted diatribe and chillingly detached electronic landscape study, the films in this program envision mediated spaces beyond our grasp. Uncanny visioning systems, familiar yet alien. Cinema technologies past and future, for us, by us, with us, and without us. Welcome to the machine.” – San Francisco Cinematheque

Program 9: a few (lost) reflections

“From far beneath the ocean waves to the outer rings of Saturn, the films in this program present distant mental landscapes, considering isolation and human connection; resiliency; fantastical visions of withdrawal; escape and reconvergence; and conditions of captivity and resistance. Waves roll, parallel to the zodiac, as senses reel and planets turn.

This program is dedicated to the memory and transcendent vision of filmmaker Peter Hutton (1944–2016).” – San Francisco Cinematheque

CROSSROADS 2017 is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Fleishhacker Foundation, George Lucas Family Foundation, Grants for the Arts, Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation, Willow Foundation, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.