SFMOMA considers film an essential medium of modern and contemporary art. We strive to bring a new dimension to cinema as a multifaceted social and educational experience as well as shed new light on historical masterpieces and contemporary filmmakers. With our state-of-the-art Phyllis Wattis Theater, the museum is also a key collaborator and destination venue for film festivals in the Bay Area.
The museum’s film programming highlights a range of narrative, non-fiction, documentary, and artist-made film and video work, including live cinema productions. We offer screenings in dialogue with exhibitions and host public discussions with visiting filmmakers and local speakers. Our popular program series Modern Cinema has featured in-depth explorations of works by major international figures in filmmaking history such as Claire Denis, Werner Herzog, Satyajit Ray, Johnnie To, Agnès Varda, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Jia Zhangke, and more.
SFMOMA has been a pioneer in the presentation of film. Our first cinema program, Development of the Motion Picture, launched in 1937, shortly after the museum opened. Throughout our history, we’ve explored film in relation to populism and experimentation and have shown everything from Walt Disney to F.W. Murnau. Our diverse program in the theater and online complements the wide-ranging film culture of the Bay Area.
Header image: View of theater audience during Bruce Conner’s BREAKAWAY (1966) for the event Group Spirit with Toni Basil and Michael McClure (October 26, 2016) in conjunction with Bruce Conner: It’s All True.