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Cinema Arts: Ongoing Programs

Cinema Arts: Ongoing Programs

Saturday Cinema

Saturday Cinema is a core weekly program that captures the ideas which animate the Exploratorium. We highlight works that blend observation, poetry, and surrealism, and celebrate films that utilize unique, handcrafted processes. Appropriate for all ages and mediated by cinema arts staff, these screenings encourage the viewer to respond to the works and join a dialogue with the viewing community. Check our calendar for upcoming screenings.


Off the Screen

In this new series, we aim to test the boundaries of film through a hybrid of performance and inquiry-based programs centered on the moving image. These challenging programs target the local community while showcasing new films by artists, live-cinema experiences, and deepening collaborations with local partner organizations.


East Gallery: Marine Life Wall

“Stories from the Sea”

The ocean supports an incredible diversity of life, both in the water and along the shore. These cinematic observations offer visual immersion into a range of oceanic narratives—from the microscopic lives of plankton to the complex relationships between humans and the world beneath the waves.

Baby Squid, Born Like Stars
by Steve Haddock and Brad Seibel (2006, 6 min.)
A beautiful and meditative discovery of a giant squid—Gonatus onyx—giving birth to thousands of young.

Ray: A Life Underwater
by Amanda Bluglass (2011, 7 min.)
An affectionate portrait of a 75-year-old man’s deep-sea diving career and his collection of antiquated diving gear. The Exploratorium commissioned this seven-minute edit of Bluglass’s film.

Pacific Drifters
by Nannette van Antwerp (2011, 5 min.)
Filmed off the coasts of the Pacific Rim, including the Bay Area, this short captures a world of microscopic drifting organisms known as plankton.

Whale Fall
by Sharon Shattuck and Flora Lichtman (2011, 4 min.)
This whimsical animation uses paper cutouts to tell the moving story of what happens after a dead whale sinks to the ocean floor.

Life by the Tide
by Joshua Cassidy (2009, 7 min.)
Using time-lapse photography and other techniques, this film captures the hypnotic and normally invisible movements of the creatures exposed at low tide on the Pacific coast.


West Gallery: Mind Cinema

The language of cinema presents a rich portal for investigating the range and nuance of the human experience. Drawing upon the science and phenomena explored in the Exploratorium’s West Gallery, this intimate theater is a venue for films that investigate diverse perspectives on thinking, feeling, social interaction, and the nature of being human.

1 Second Everyday
by Cesar Kuriyama (2012, 6 min.)
Compiling 1 second of video for each day of his 30th year, Kuriyama considers how individual moments can define our memory and self-understanding.

When the Organ Played “O Promise Me”
by Cecil Stokes (1941, 4 min.)
In the 1940s, Stokes experimented with “auroratones”: short, abstract films to treat mental illness. In this sole surviving example, Bing Crosby’s soothing voice is paired with slow-moving, kaleidoscopic imagery.

Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?
by Miguel Areta (2007, 3 min.)
A surveyor asks passersby a deceptively simple yet deeply revealing question.

The Competition
by Brent Hoff (2007, 4 min.)
A group of participants are challenged to manufacture emotion on the spot.

Magic Canvas
by John Halas (1948, 9 min.)
This beautifully fluid animation dramatizes a symbolic quest for freedom.

by The Rauch Brothers (2010, 3 min.)
In this StoryCorps animation, 12 year-old Joshua Littman, who has Asperger's syndrome, interviews his mother Sarah.

by Léonard Cohen (2011, 8 min.)
A two-dimensional figure investigates a cube in this award-winning animation.

by Terri Timely (2010, 4 min.)
This vibrant work combines live action and stop-motion animation to portray a family of synesthetes, each perceiving sensory stimulation in different ways.