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Behind the Scenes: The Art and Craft of Cinema with Editor Sam Pollard

November 1, 2012 - November 3, 2012


UPDATE: Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Sam Pollard is unable to visit the Bay Area as planned. His behind-the-scenes lecture and San Francisco Film Society workshop will be rescheduled for a future date. We will screen Mo' Better Blues on November 1 as planned, but at 7 p.m. instead of 8:30 p.m., and Style Wars will screen as scheduled, but without an introduction.

Sam Pollard is best known for his collaborations with Spike Lee—he edited and/or produced Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Girl 6, Clockers, Bamboozled, 4 Little Girls, When the Levees Broke, and If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise. An early mentor, documentary filmmaker St. Clair Bourne, helped him see that “the work that I'm supposed to do is . . . to make sure I echo and support the stories of African-American people.” And for the last forty years, he has been editing, producing, and directing key films about the African American experience. Pollard’s own directorial efforts include Slavery by Another Name and episodes of Henry Hampton’s Eyes on the Prize 11 and I’ll Make Me A World (on which he was also coexecutive producer). He has taught at New York University since 1994.

Pollard takes us behind-the-scenes of his editing experience in a lecture with video clips on Thursday, November 1, followed by a screening of Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues. On Saturday, November 3, he discusses his work on Tony Silver’s documentary Style Wars, an early exploration of graffiti and hip-hop culture, which has been called “a training manual in how to edit and make a great documentary” (Ross Kauffman).

Kathy Geritz, Film Curator

Thursday, November 1, 2012
7:00 p.m. Mo' Better Blues
Spike Lee (U.S., 1990). UPDATE: Sam Pollard's originally scheduled behind-the-scenes lecture is canceled; Pollard is unable to visit the Bay Area due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. We will screen Mo' Better Blues, Pollard's collaboration with Spike Lee, starring a youthful Denzel Washington as a jazz trumpeter. A “foxy, original, and moving film” (Gary Giddins, Village Voice). (127 min)

Saturday, November 3, 2012
8:15 p.m. Style Wars
Tony Silver (U.S., 1984). This legendary, influential documentary captures New York City, circa 1983, and the rise of hip-hop, graffiti, tagging, and break-dancing. See urban pioneers like Kase, Crazy Legs, and more in this testament to the birth of a new style. A great companion piece to our Barry McGee exhibition. (69 mins)

For information on Sam Pollard’s Behind the Scenes workshop at the San Francisco Film Society on November 2, please go to sffs.org. This workshop is canceled and will be rescheduled.

Behind the Scenes is a collaboration between BAM/PFA and the San Francisco Film Society. Major support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. The program is also made possible in part by the continued contributions of the BAM/PFA Trustees.