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This year’s festival theme, Secret City, threads itself into the projectors and on to the big screen. The weekly Film Series includes a diverse range of documentary films, art projects, and archival footage that bridge the seen with the unseen. 
2017  Film Curator
Richard Neill is a photographer, filmmaker, and founding director of Adventure Pictures, a San Francisco studio producing films and multimedia projects focused on urban design and architecture. His films have aired nationally on PBS, National Geographic, and Discovery Channel, and have been shown at the Mak Museum, Vienna, the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C. and in film festivals across the country.


Weekly screenings every Wednesday in September | 6:00 to 8:00 PM 

Various San Francisco Locations | Curated by Richard Neill 



Cambria Gallery

1045 Bryant Street

AIA Member: $10

General: $15

This event has passed and sales have ended.

Film Series Kick-Off Party
Join us for gourmet popcorn, candy bars and all your traditional theatre snacks while enjoying rarely seen architectural cinema. 
Getting Frank Gehry

2015 | 59 min.

Director: Sally Aitken

Drawing on a life's work defined by controversial and ground-breaking ideas, the world's greatest architect has inaugurated his first Australian building - and debate still rages over whether it is eyesore or icon. The University of Technology, Sydney’s new business school, is Frank Gehry’s daring ‘Treehouse project’, otherwise known as the 'crumpled brown paper bag’ to its critics. At first sight, the school will almost certainly shock anyone not already familiar with Gehry’s work elsewhere around the world. Designed to be radical inside and out, the building is sure to provoke conflicts for decades, and yet is highly likely to be hailed as a masterpiece of early 21st century architecture in time, just as so many of his other creations have already been.


The film follows the drama as Gehry’s vision for this commission is realized. Through the construction of this building, his challenging work is examined over a period of 40 years. Four key phases of creativity, epitomized by four great buildings, The Gehry House, The Vitra Museum, The Guggenheim Bilbao and MIT’s Stata Centre, chart the evolution of ideas over a lifetime of controversy to play out on the downtown Sydney construction site.

Shigeru Ban's Aspen Art Museum

2016 | 6 min.

Directors: Anton Kisselgoff + Michael O’Connell

This short film is on noted architect Shigeru Ban’s design for The Aspen Art Museum in Aspen, Colorado. Through cinematic timelapse and motion sequences, the film explores the museum’s architectural design and built environment and features interviews with Pritzker Prize Laureate, Shigeru Ban, and the museum’s Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director, Heidi Zuckerman. Produced by Redsquare Productions




The Great Star Theatre
636 Jackson Street

AIA Member: $10

General: $15

This event has passed and sales have ended.

Forever, Chinatown

2016 | 32 min.

Director: James Q. Chan 

Producers: James Q. Chan, Corey Tong


Forever, Chinatown is a story of unknown, self-taught 81-year-old artist Frank Wong who has spent the past four decades recreating his fading memories by building romantic, extraordinarily detailed miniature models of the San Francisco Chinatown rooms of his youth. This film takes the journey of one individual and maps it to a rapidly changing urban neighborhood from 1940s to present day. A meditation on memory, community, and preserving one’s own legacy, Frank‘s three-dimensional miniature dioramas become rare portals into a historic neighborhood and a window to the artist’s filtered and romanticized memories and emotional struggles. In his bargain with immortality, Frank announces plans to cremate his exquisite works with him upon his death in order to ‘live inside them forever’ in his afterlife. Program will feature a brief presentation with filmmakers James Q. Chan and Corey Tong.

Lost Landscapes of San Francisco
2017 | 45 min.
Created and presented by Rick Prelinger ​


Rick Prelinger is a guerrilla archivist who collects the uncollected and makes it accessible. Prelinger will present excerpts from the long-running Lost Landscapes of San Francisco project, featuring home movies, feature outtakes, industrial films and documentary footage of San Francisco and its people. Lost Landscapes of San Francisco" film, an eclectic montage of lost and rarely-seen film clips showing life, landscapes and labor in a vanished San Francisco as captured by amateurs, newsreel cameramen and industrial filmmakers. The audience makes the soundtrack and is invited to identify places, people and events, ask questions and interact with one another while the film plays.




Mechanics' Institute

57 Post Street, 4th Floor

Free Admission

(Registration required)


This event has passed and sales have ended.

Pedro E. Guerrero: 
A Photographer's Journey

2015 | 59 min.

Director: Ray Telles

"A Photographer's Journey" captures the remarkable life and work of Pedro Guerrero (1917-2012). He left behind thousands of photographs and nearly 15 hours of interviews beautifully shot in 2011. This film tells, in his own words, the remarkable story of a Mexican American boy born and raised in segregated Mesa, Arizona in the early years of the 20th century who goes on to a remarkable international career. Through his lens and voice we will explore Pedro's unique perspective on life, art, architecture and the artists he encountered. Guerrero used his outsider's eye to produce insightful and iconic portraits of Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson as well as important images of modernist architecture. He was the first Hispanic to enroll in Wright's Taliesin Fellowship in 1939. Yet his story is largely unknown. Program will feature a brief presentation with producer Ray Telles.


333 Brannan Street

AIA Member: $10

General: $15

Ticket sales have ended; no on-site ticket sales for this program.



The Happy Film

2016 | 95 min. | Documentary

Directors: Stefan Sagmeister, Ben Nabors, Hillman Curtis

Join us at Dropbox for a fun-filled screening of "The Happy Film" and close out this year's Festival film series!


Austrian graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is doing well. He lives in New York, the city of his dreams, and he has success in his work, designing album covers for the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z and the Talking Heads. But in the back of his mind he suspects there must be something more. He decides to turn himself into a design project. Can he redesign his personality to become a better person? Is it possible to train his mind to get happier? He pursues 3 controlled experiments of meditation, therapy, and drugs, grading himself along the way. But real life creeps in and confounds the process: art, sex, love, and death prove impossible to disentangle. His unique designs and painfully personal experiences mark a journey that travels closer to himself than ever intended.

NOTE: Photo ID and completed security check-in form will be required upon arrival at Dropbox. Please have these items ready in advance for speedier check-in. If you do not have it with you upon arrival, you will be required to fill it out onsite. Advance ticket sales only. Ticket sales close at 4 PM on Wednesday, September 27 and will not be available onsite at Dropbox on the day of program.

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