Documentaries Archive - 836m

Archives: Documentaries

Still image from Art & Krimes by Krimes. © Molly Schwartz.

Join us for a special screening of Art & Krimes by Krimes (2021), a documentary exploring an incarcerated artist’s labors over a number of years on a secret masterpiece, finding a way to survive with the act of creativity.

Jesse Krimes (b. 1982, Lancaster, Pennsylvania) is an American artist and curator who focuses on criminal injustice and contemporary perceptions of criminality. While locked-up for six years in federal prison, artist Jesse Krimes secretly creates monumental works of art—including an astonishing 40-foot mural made with prison bed sheets, hair gel, and newspaper. He smuggles out each panel piece-by-piece with the help of fellow artists, only seeing the mural in totality upon coming home. As Jesse’s work captures the art world’s attention, he struggles to adjust to life outside, living with the threat that any misstep will trigger a life sentence.

Jesse Krimes is now an artist and curator based in Philadelphia and has co-founded Right of Return USA, the first national fellowship dedicated to supporting formerly incarcerated artists.

As part of 836M’s focus on the process of art making, this film screening highlights Krimes’s art practice both while incarcerated and outside as a free man and artist working to shift perspectives on art and criminality.

The film includes animation created by acclaimed animator Molly Schwartz in collaboration with Jesse Krimes. The original score is by composer Amanda Jones in collaboration with formerly incarcerated musicians who are alumni of Musicambia.

Audience Advisory: This film contains mention of suicide, substance use, and strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.

Artists Jesse Krimes and Russell Craig in a still from the feature documentary Art & Krimes by Krimes directed by Alysa Nahmias. An AJNA Films production. Courtesy of MTV Documentary Films.
Still from the feature documentary Art & Krimes by Krimes directed by Alysa Nahmias. An AJNA Films production. Courtesy of MTV Documentary Films.

Panelist Speakers – TBA

Photo taken by Peter Moore in 1976, courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

Join us for the West Coast premiere of Nam June Paik: Moon is the Oldest TV (2023), the documentary exploring renowned multi-media artist Nam June Paik and his groundbreaking life and work.

Nam June Paik (1932-2006) was born in Japan-occupied Korea and studied as a classical musician moving to Germany in the 1950s in hopes of becoming a composer. As part of 836 M’s focus on the process of art making, this film screening highlights Paik as a member of the Fluxus movement – an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, designers, and poets during the 1960s and 70s who engaged in experimental art performances emphasizing the artistic process over the finished product. Eventually, he immigrated to the United States of America, where the bulk of his extensive body of work, including video sculptures, installations, performances, and television productions, was produced. His global presence and influence are deeply felt in this monumental retrospective of his life and work.

This film is the first feature by director Amanda Kim and had its premiere at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

Following the screening is a conversation moderated by 836M Curator and Gallery Manager Jade Fogle with Bay Area video artist and Paik’s longtime friend, John Sanborn, and Tanya Zimbardo, Assistant Curator of Media Arts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Audience Advisory: This film contains strobe effects and may potentially trigger seizures. Viewer discretion is advised.

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian’s Nam June Paik Archive
Photo courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment
Photo taken by Peter Moore in 1976, courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

Panelist Speakers

Tanya Zimbardo is a San Francisco-based curator. For the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Zimbardo has curated several exhibitions and programs including Nam June Paik: In Character (2017-18, with Rachel Jans) and the related public program series Nam June Paik: Liner Notes. Her SFMOMA exhibitions Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors and Susan Philipsz: Songs Sung in the First Person on Themes of Longing, Sympathy and Release are currently on view. Over the past decade, Zimbardo has guest (co-)curated exhibitions, screenings and public programs for Bay Area nonprofit arts and film organizations such as Canyon Cinema Foundation, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco Cinematheque, The 500 Capp Street Foundation, among others. Zimbardo recently contributed to Gravity Spells II: Bay Area New Music & Expanded Cinema Art (Bimodal Press).

John Sanborn has been called “a key member of the second wave of American video artists that included Bill Viola, Gary Hill, and Dara Birnbaum” by Dr. Peter Weibel, director of the ZKM. Sanborn’s career spans the early days of experimental video art in the 1970s through the heyday of 80’s MTV music/videos and 90’s interactive art to digital media art of today.

Sanborn’s work has manifested itself on television (Alive from Off Center, ABC, Channel 4, MTV, Great Performances, Comedy Central), as video installations (Whitney Museum, The Kitchen, Videoformes, ZKM), video games (Electronic Arts), Internet experiences (MGM, Microsoft, Jeu de Paume) and music/videos (Rick James, Van Halen, Nile Rodgers, Grace Jones, King Crimson, Tangerine Dream, and Philip Glass). He is known for his collaborations with a diverse representation of virtuosic performers, contemporary composers and choreographers. His oeuvre primarily addresses themes of stories and storytelling, philosophies of composition, the power of mythology and the resilience of memory – as he pursues his elusive sense of “NOT ME”.

Recent projects include live video/theater performances of God in 3 Persons, a collaboration with The Residents, at MoMA NY; commissions from the National Museum of Qatar, the City of Berkeley, and Jeu de Paume, Paris; solo exhibitions at Galerie Tokomona, Paris; Telematic Media Arts and 836M, San Francisco; and the premiere of “The Friend,” starring John Cameron Mitchell, at Festival Videoformes. In 2022 the ZKM presented a retrospective exhibition of Sanborn’s work, including a monograph to be published this year.

John Sanborn holds an honorary Master of Cinema degree from ESEC, Paris, and was honored as a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the Minister of Culture of France. Sanborn’s YouTube channel has over 22 million views and over 100,000 subscribers.

Today, women make up less than one quarter of all those employed in STEM occupations in the United States. These numbers are much worse for women of color: Asian, black women and Latinas made up slightly less than 10% of working scientists and engineers in the United States in 2015. Science is supposed to be built on objectivity, and yet, most researchers agree that these bleak numbers are evidence of deep bias. Over the course of careers, small slights add up to prevent many women from achieving leadership positions in STEM fields. And sometimes, tragically, brilliant women drop out altogether. But now, the terrain is shifting. This film chronicles the groundswell of women scientists who are changing the face of science in the United States and around the world. Using dogged research techniques and careful data collection, these women are not only contributing to our understanding of what keeps women scientists down, but advocating for a more diverse and inclusive future for all. The film will take a novel, collaborative approach to its storytelling, allowing the scientists themselves to guide the narrative of the film. Science is therefore both the subject of the film, and also — through our three main characters — its guiding sensibility, providing viewers a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a scientist. Equal parts insightful and inspiring, this film will illuminate both the hard data and the very human stories of women in science.

Panelist Speakers

Dr. Céline Schiff-Deb

For over fifteen years, Dr. Céline Schiff-Deb has been working at the interface of science and business, turning biotechnological innovations into relevant commercial products and services, both in Europe and the USA.

A France native, she completed a Master’s degree in agronomy delivered by Agro Paris Tech. She received her Ph.D. in plant genetics and molecular biology at Agro Paris Tech and Stanford University.

Having acquired a strong sense of the potential of biological systems to produce compounds of interest, she decided to leverage her scientific background to help companies translate these innovations into commercial products. For seven years, she worked in consulting and strategy in the biotechnology space, both with a specialized consulting firm – Alcimed – and as an independent consultant.

Since 2011, she has been leveraging her expertise by joining biotechnology companies built around microbial platforms: Intrexon, Solazyme, TerraViam, Corbion, and Calysta. She has a solid track record of securing strategic partners, developing new products, and successfully launching them in the marketplace in nutrition, cosmetics, chemicals, oil, and gas. She is currently the head of Biotechnology at MISTA.

Nina Reyes

Nina is driven by the global positive impact that biomanufacturing can have on the planet and humanity.  She is a founding member of the Checkerspot team where her technical expertise and passion for talking about science have led her down two very different but interconnected paths – one as a fermentation scientist and the other as the director of communications.  Nina loves translating hard scientific data into something that everyone can understand and get excited about. She believes that we’re all scientists at heart – curious about the world around us and how it works.

Outside of Checkerspot, Nina works towards her personal vision of an inclusive global community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Since 2011, Nina has been a volunteer of Make A Difference Now, a global nonprofit whose mission is to provide quality education to disadvantaged children and youth so they have the tools to become self-sufficient, contributing citizens of the world, working with students from Tanzania and India. In 2013, she climbed Kilimanjaro as a fundraiser. Locally, Nina volunteers with Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, at an after-school program in West Oakland, and as an elder friend with Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.

Dr. Vikki Sluzky

Victoria Sluzky, Ph.D. is a Principal at Lucid Biotechnology Advisors LLC, a strategic consultancy for emerging biotechnology companies.  For the past 19 years, Victoria was at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, serving in roles of increasing responsibility and most recently as Senior Vice President of Technical Development. 

Dr. Sluzky has a broad range of experience in pharmaceutical development including design and optimization of analytical methods; formulation of parenteral and solid dosage forms; process development and technology transfer; quality assurance and compliance programs; and regulatory strategy. Over the past 30 years, she has contributed to the development of 9 commercial products and was directly involved in pre-clinical and clinical development programs for multiple small molecules, biologics and gene therapy drug candidates. 

Prior to joining BioMarin in 2003, Dr. Sluzky worked at three other biotechnology companies (Scios, COR Therapeutics, and Onyx Pharmaceuticals).  She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers.

This film provides an intimate look into one of New York’s most brutally hit hospital systems during the first four months of the pandemic. Oscar-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning director, Matthew Heineman, uses The First Wave to spotlight the everyday heroes at the epicenter of COVID-19. This once-in-a-century pandemic changed the fabric of our daily lives and exposed long-standing inequities in our society. Employing his signature approach of character-driven cinema vérité, Heineman embeds with a group of doctors, nurses, and patients on the frontlines as they all desperately try to navigate the crisis. With each distinct storyline serving as a microcosm through which we can view the emotional and societal impacts of the pandemic, The First Wave is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

An inspirational insight into the spectacular art at the center of this annual celebration, Burning Man: Art on Fire follows the unpredictable journey of the artists who defy reason to bring their massive installations and sculptures to the punishing Nevada desert. Filmed just after Burning Man’s legendary founder suddenly died, the community of artists is challenged by impossible timing and blinding dust storms. This richly cinematic, multi-character narrative unfolds over months as they imagine, build, and ultimately burn the impressive main structures in this temporary city of dream.

Bedlam is the first major documentary to explore the crisis in the care of severely mentally ill citizens. Set in Los Angeles, the film tracks wrenching individual stories of mentally-ill patients caught on an endless merry-go-round of ineffective care, exposing the anatomy of a broken healthcare mill.

What was once a system built around long-term asylum care has essentially become a crude horror show for thousands who are detained, medicated, and tossed onto the streets with no means of recovery. Petty crime and drug addiction land many in prison, where they are detained and medicated again, creating a tragic loop. As one psychiatrist points out, this government-sanctioned loop is the actual definition of insanity. Add to that the fact that few psychiatrists are even willing to treat those most severely afflicted, and you’ve got an all-out crisis that’s also a significant source of homelessness and incarceration.

Bedlam shows how deep-seated shame, stigma, and decades-long political negligence have led to the single most significant social catastrophe of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with a mixture of pained intimacy and sweeping historical context.

Human Nature is a provocative exploration of a breakthrough called CRISPR, a method by which the genomes of living organisms may be edited, giving us the groundbreaking ability to control the building blocks of life. Through the eyes of the scientists who discovered it, the families it is affecting, and the bioengineers who are testing its limits, Human Nature examines the power CRISPR will generate and the implications that may follow.

Executive producers Dan Rather, Elliot Kirschner, and director Adam Bolt, the co-writer and editor of the Oscar-winning film Inside Job, explore the most significant tech revolution of the 21stCentury. However, this technological discovery is not digital; it’s biological.

What will the power of gene modification mean for human evolution? How will this affect Nature, and are we ready for the consequences? CRISPR opens doors to curing diseases, reshaping the biosphere, and designing our children. Humans have a remarkable way of making discoveries and inventing new technology. However, often we are unaware of far-reaching implications and how to handle them for society. We must look back at the beginning of human evolution to answer the questions of our uncertain future.


At the age of 85, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a lengthy legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But the unique personal journey of her rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans – until now. RBG explores Ginsburg’s life and career. An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women.

Starring Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jane and James Ginsburg, Clara Spera, Gloria Steinem, Nina Totenberg, Lilly Ledbetter, Sharron Frontiero, and Stephen Wiesenfeld, Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, Bill Clinton, Ted Olson, Judge Harry Edwards, Senator Orrin Hatch, Eugene Scalia, and Bryant Johnson.

On March 9, 2016, the worlds of Go and artificial intelligence collided in South Korea. The best five-game competition coined The DeepMind Challenge Match, pitted a legendary Go master against an AI program that was still learning to play the world’s most complex board game. AlphaGo chronicles a journey from the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of Google DeepMind in London, and, ultimately, to the seven-day tournament in Seoul. As the drama unfolds before an audience of over 280 million viewers worldwide, more questions emerge: What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What will it teach us about humanity? This film also features an original score by Academy Award nominee, Hauschka.

Château Beijing explores how wine becomes a primary cultural mediator to understand the increasing importance of links between the Chinese and French.

The film follows the evolution of three main characters: Madame Tsao, a Chinese businesswoman, Gérard Colin, a French winemaker based in China, and Jack Cheung, a young Chinese sommelier working in Hong Kong. Each of them shares dreams and sometimes misunderstandings. Their shared passion for wine triggers a reflection on the challenge of conveying a sense of time and nature beyond cultural boundaries.

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