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Special Presentation

Enjoy these unique programs at MFAH Films.

Past Films in This Series



Directed by Jenalia Moreno
Director Jenalia Moreno in attendance* Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH members, members of the Houston Cinema Arts Society, members of the Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP), students with ID, and seniors receive a $2 discount. Cosponsored by the Houston Cinema Arts Society. Stitched is a fun-filled documentary capturing the enormity of the quilting world with more than 21 million quilters in the U.S. alone. The film follows three quilters racing to complete their entries for the ... more info

Hej Rup!

Heave Ho!

1934, in Czech with English subtitles
Directed by Martin Frič
Introductory remarks by Alison Greene, MFAH curator of Contemporary Art and Special Projects  In 1989 the MFAH presented the landmark exhibition Czech Modernism: 1900–1945, which inspired the current exhibition New Formations: Czech Avant-Garde Art and Modern Glass from the Roy and Mary Cullen Collection. Hej Rup!, featuring the comic duo George Voscovec and Jan Werich, was among the many films screened as part of the original exhibition. In the late 1920s and 1930s, these Czech burlesque entertainers were leaders of The Liberated, a theater group that became ... more info

2011 Oscar Nominees: Best Documentary (Short Subject)

2011, various languages with English subtitles
Directed by Various
Get a jump on your Oscar pool! Attend this screening for an opportunity to see some of the 2011 nominees for Best Documentary (Short Subject) in advance of the February 26 Academy Awards ceremony. The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement Directed by Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin (USA, 2011, 25 min.) In the days leading up to Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 election, a former civil rights activist looks back on the early days of the movement. Incident in ... more info

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture

Directed by Bruno Wollheim
A reception to meet the filmmaker, Bruno Wollheim, follows the screening. DVDs of the film will be available for purchase. Filmed over three years, this documentary is an unprecedented record of a major artist at work. It captures David Hockney’s return from California to paint his native Yorkshire, England: outside, through the seasons, and in all weathers. David Hockney: A Bigger Picture tells the story of a homecoming and offers up a revealing portrait of what inspires and motivates today’s greatest living British-born artist. "An unqualified, ... more info

The Abandoned Children

1974, in Spanish with English subtitles
Directed by Danny Lyon
The MFAH is pleased to cohost a film screening and discussion in conjunction with the Menil Collection exhibition The World Is Not My Home: Danny Lyon Photographs and Houston's FotoFest 2012 Biennial. Program ► Screening of The Abandoned Children (Los niños abandonados), a powerful 1975 documentary about Colombian street children, directed by photographer Danny Lyon. Click here to view a trailer for the film. ► Discussion with Lyon; MFAH curator Anne Wilkes Tucker; and Menil curator and exhibition organizer Toby Kamps. Admission is free. more info
The MFAH, in collaboration with filmmaker Carroll Parrott Blue and the University of Houston, welcomes celebrated Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando to Houston. This program features a conversation with both of them, along with film scholar Margarita de la Vega Hurtado, and includes a screening of Rolando's latest film: 1912, Breaking the Silence (Voces para un silencio). About the filmmaker The primary focus of Gloria Rolando’s work is the African diaspora in the Caribbean. Originally trained in art history, she transitioned to filmmaking ... more info
Many of the award winners from this annual contest will be screened, with filmmakers in attendance. Houston Public Library annually solicits entries from teens throughout the greater Houston area, with work submitted in categories including narrative, documentary, animation, and teen health, among others. Turn out and support these talented young auteurs! more info

Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview

Directed by Paul Sen
Ten years after leaving Apple, the late Steve Jobs agreed to an hour-long interview for Triumph of the Nerds, a TV series about the birth of the personal computer. Only a part of the 1995 conversation was used in the series, and the remainder was thought lost until the recent discovery of a VHS copy. The interview features Jobs at his most charismatic, discussing his pioneering days with Steve Wozniak. Jobs also talks frankly and sadly about his own forced departure ... more info

LĀSYA KĀVYA: The World of Alarmél Valli

2012 in English and Tamil with English subtitles
Directed by Sankalp Meshram
Alarmél Valli is one of India’s most iconic dancers and choreographers. Internationally acclaimed for her distinctive dance style—classical yet contemporary, precise yet poetic—Valli has performed in major festivals and theaters worldwide. The new documentary LĀSYA KĀVYA: The World of Alarmél Valli features footage of Valli’s graceful gestures, complemented by insights from experts on Indian dance who illuminate the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual contexts within the performances. LĀSYA KĀVYA won India’s 2012 national award for best film on art and culture. Meet Alarmél Valli when she visits the ... more info

La Bohème

Directed by King Vidor
Live piano accompaniment by Joseph Li, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University Houston Grand Opera sets the silent film alongside Puccini’s heartbreaking operatic score for a unique presentation of story, film, and music. This version of La Bohème is not based on the libretto of Puccini’s opera, but goes back to that work’s source: Henri Murger’s 1851 French stories Scènes de la vie de bohème (Scenes from Bohemian Life). Lillian Gish (Mimi) and John Gilbert (Rodolphe) star in the (considerably cleaned-up) ... more info
A reception in the museum galleries follows the ceremony. The Houston Film Critics Society comprises print, broadcast, and Internet film critics. As award season heats up nationally, members of the HFCS present their own awards for top achievements in 2012. Along with this year’s Texas Independent Film Award, a Humanitarian award goes to the late Adam Yauch, and a Lifetime Achievement Award goes to actor Robert Duvall (not attending). This event is free, but free tickets are required. For more information, ... more info
A reception and book signing in the museum galleries follow this program. Nick Flynn and David Eagleman, two noted authors with Houston connections, come together on the occasion of Flynn’s latest book, The Reenactments: A Memoir, the story of Flynn adapting his 2004 memoir into the film Being Flynn. In the new memoir, Flynn reflects on his experience of being on the set during filming of two central events in his life: his mother’s suicide and his father’s long run of homelessness. ... more info

2012 Academy Award-Nominated Short Films (Documentary)

Directed by Various Directors
Get a jump on your Oscar pool with this opportunity to see the films nominated in the Documentary Short category, in advance of the Academy Awards ceremony on February 24. The nominees are: Inocente Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine   Kings Point Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider   Mondays at Racine Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan   Open Heart Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern   Redemption Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill   Click here for information on each film (scroll about halfway ... more info

Music Majors: The Rance Allen Group

Directed by Melanie Scott
Special guests: Bishop Rance Allen, Yolanda Adams, and others* The documentary Music Majors chronicles the rise to fame of the innovative Rance Allen Group (RAG), one of the most explosive groups to emerge from the legendary Stax Records label in the 1970s. The group's hits—including "Ain’t No Need of Crying," "I Belong to You," and their cover of the Temptations’ "Just My Imagination"—placed them among soul legends such as Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes. The Rance Allen Group is often credited with establishing the ... more info

The Mystery of Picasso

1956, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Enter the theater at any time: The 75-minute film screens twice, back-to-back. Attendance is free with general museum admission. MFAH Members always receive free general admission. ► For tickets to the exhibition "Picasso Black and White," click here. ► To order the exhibition catalogue, click here. Unavailable for more than a decade, The Mystery of Picasso is one of the greatest documentaries on art ever made. The film received the Prix du Jury at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, and the French government declared the film a ... more info

Robert Frank's "CS Blues"

Directed by Robert Frank
BOTH SCREENINGS ARE SOLD OUT Special ticket prices apply! General admission tickets are $20; MFAH Members, students with ID, and senior adults receive a $5 discount. This engagement of the legendary documentary Cocksucker Blues (in a digital version) has been arranged courtesy of Robert Frank, whose films the MFAH has archived and distributed since 1986. Frank’s involvement with the Rolling Stones began when he shot the cover for their Exile on Main Street album in 1971. The next year he ... more info

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland
Friday, April 19 (prior to the 7 p.m. screening) Enjoy a conversation exploring the 50-year reign of the “Empress of Fashion.” Gary Tinterow, MFAH director, talks with special guests Peter Speliopoulos, vice president for design at Donna Karan New York; and Robert Turner, fashion editor at "Vogue" and former curatorial assistant to Diana Vreeland.  During Diana Vreeland’s reign as the “Empress of Fashion,” she launched Twiggy, advised Jackie Onassis, and established countless trends that have withstood the test of time. She was ... more info

Coast Modern

Directed by Mike Bernard and Gavin Froome
Presented as part of the Houston Modern Market Week Film Festival, April 15–22. Traveling along the Pacific Northwest coastline from Los Angeles to Vancouver, this documentary showcases the pioneers of West Coast Modernist architecture, and the homes that have become their legacies. Audiences go inside the most-inspired dwellings on the West Coast and see how the light and space of a classic Modernist home can work in collaboration with the environment. Architect Dion Neutra explains that the way to live is to have "the ... more info

Chasing Ice

Directed by Jeff Orlowski
Introduced by Anne Wilkes Tucker, Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography, MFAH Environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic in 2005 for National Geographic. His assignment: to capture images as evidence of the Earth’s changing climate. Balog had been a skeptic about climate change, but that first trip opened his eyes and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk. With the Extreme Ice Survey, Balog and his team deployed ... more info
Introduced by David Filipi, Wexner Center for the Arts Rare Baseball Films is the perfect way to celebrate the national pastime that delights die-hard fans and cinephiles alike. Before television became a fixture in people’s homes, theatrical newsreels were one of the few ways for fans to actually see players from around the country in action. The program draws on the Hearst Metrotone News Collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive and includes the Houston Colt .45s' first spring ... more info

Alice Rahon: The Black Bee

Alice Rahon: L'abeille noire

2012, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Dominique and Julien Ferrandou
Introduced by Teresa Arcq, co-curator of the 2012 LACMA exhibition "In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States." In 1939, French Surrealist painter/poet Alice Rahon (1904–1987) and her Austrian husband fled fascist Europe and moved to Mexico, where they were received by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. There, Rahon published three volumes of poetry inspired by nature, travels, and her love affairs with poet Valentine Penrose and artist Pablo Picasso, among others. This documentary explores Rahon´s involvement ... more info

Manhattan Short Film Festival

2013, in various languages
Directed by various directors
 "One World. One Week. One Festival." During the week of September 27 to October 6, more than 100,000 people in some 300 cities across six continents gather in various venues to view and vote for the winner of the annual Manhattan Short Film Festival. The festival is a celebration of international short film that occurs simultaneously across the globe, allowing audiences to select their favorites. #30 (Directed by Timothy Wilde, Australia) Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? (Directed by ... more info

The Out List

Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
In Person: Photographer and Filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders In The Out List, a diverse cross section of leaders from entertainment, business, sports, and public service discuss intimate stories on childhood; understanding gender and sexuality; building careers while out; and the challenges facing the LGBTQ community. Against the backdrop of historic Supreme Court hearings on same-sex marriage and financial equality, subjects recall joyous moments of acceptance and romance, along with painful instances of intolerance and discrimination, offering unique modern perspectives on being out ... more info

British Arrows

Directed by Various directors
The British Arrows recognize and reward the best television, online, outdoor, and cinema commercials made by British advertising agencies and production companies. The annual roundup of award-winning commercials is one of the most popular programs at the MFAH. This year’s crop features an IKEA ad in which toys come to life, a touching tribute to Paralympians, and the Guardian’s headline reenactment of the Three Little Pigs being arrested for killing the Big Bad Wolf. more info
A reception in the Museum galleries follows the program. Members of the Houston Film Critics Society present awards for top achievements in 2013 in more than a dozen categories, from Best Picture to Best Original Song. The Coen Brothers receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Humanitarian Award goes to actor Edward James Olmos. (Award winners are not expected to attend.) Reserve your free ticket in advance! Use the "Get Tickets" button and your own printer; call 713.639.7771; or visit ... more info

The Strange Demise of Jim Crow

Directed by David Berman
Reserve your free tickets in advance! Not all of the civil-rights victories in the 1960s were won at the cost of vicious beatings and mass arrests played out in front of television cameras. The Strange Demise of Jim Crow reveals that many Southern cities—including Houston—were desegregated in a quieter, almost stealthy fashion with behind-the-scenes negotiations, secret deals, and controversial news blackouts. It makes visible a fascinating case study of how urban power is really wielded. Post-Screening Panel Discussion Moderator: Thomas ... more info


2012, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Gilles Bourdos
A sumptuous biopic set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, this drama is inspired by the final years in the life of legendary painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet). His son—and future film-directing legend—Jean Renoir (Vincent Rottiers) returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I. Jean is accompanied by Andrée Heuschling (Christa Theret), a captivating young woman who rejuvenates, enchants, and inspires both father and son. The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the ... more info

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation

Directed by Eric Zala
Please allow extra time for parking, as several events are scheduled to take place at the Museum on Friday, February 28, and space will be limited. More info > In Person: Actor and producer Chris Strompolos*  This shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark was produced and directed by three boys from the Mississippi Gulf Coast more than 20 years ago. The trio of 10-year-olds began shooting in the summer of 1982, and they wrapped seven years later. The Adaptation ... more info
Tickets are free. Print your free tickets by clicking the "Get Tickets" link. “Animating the 19th Century: Bringing Pictures to Life (Or Life to Pictures?)” Speaker: Tom Gunning, the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Department of Cinema & Media Studies, the University of Chicago. The invention of movies came about as the 19th century was ending and the 20th century was beginning. Although many viewers saw the advent of cinema as the ... more info

UNEARTHLING: Films by Peter Lucas

Directed by Peter Lucas
In person: Filmmaker Peter Lucas This program of experimental film/video work by Houston-based artist Peter Lucas features the world premiere of his new short film, Unearthling (2014), as well as his recent Voyager Found (2013). With gritty black-and-white photography and a layered soundtrack of electronic music and sound, Unearthling centers on the arrival of a mysterious figure from another world. Voyager Found is a collaged reworking of the image, music, and sound elements included in the “golden record” launched into ... more info

Mahler on the Couch

2010, in German with English subtitles
Directed by Percy Adlon and Felix Adlon
Preceded by wine reception at 5:30 p.m. This exuberant imagining of the real-life marriage of Gustav Mahler (Johannes Silberschneider) and his tempestuous wife Alma Schindler Mahler (the luminous Barbara Romaner) is a sensory feast of art, sex, and celebrity in fin-de-siècle Vienna. “Very witty and erotic . . . [director] Percy Adlon is up to old tricks in this delightful, artistically vigorous, and occasionally loony fantasia about Vienna's cultural elite 100 years ago.” —Hollywood Reporter Mahler’s tenure as the director ... more info

Sweet Dreams

2012, in English and Kinyarwanda with English subtitles
Directed by Rob and Lisa Fruchtman
Ingoma Nshya—Rwanda’s first and only all-woman drumming troupe—is made up of women from both sides of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The troupe offers a place of support, healing, and reconciliation. When Ingoma Nshya partners with two young American entrepreneurs from Brooklyn’s Blue Marble Ice Cream to open Rwanda’s first-ever ice cream shop, these remarkable Rwandan women embark on a journey of independence, peace, and possibility. Sweet Dreams interweaves intimate, heart-wrenching stories with joyous and powerful music to present a moving portrait of empowerment ... more info

hang@MFAH Presents “8 BIT”

Directed by Marcin Ramocki
Tickets are free! Reserve your seat in advance. 8 BIT explores how artists use technology to interrogate the world. A mix of rockumentary, art exposé, and culture-critical investigation, 8 BIT ties together seemingly disconnected phenomena, from the 1980s demo scene and chiptune music to contemporary artists using machinima and modified games. Produced in New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo, 8 BIT brings a global perspective to the artistic approaches of the DIY generation that grew up playing Atari and Commodore 64. ... more info


Directed by Various directors
Introduced by filmmaker and musician Pete Teo 15Malaysia, produced by noted musician, actor, and filmmaker Pete Teo, is a compilation of short films by Malaysian filmmakers. This omnibus examines sociopolitical issues including corruption, freedom of speech, racism, religion, and cultural identity. Following its release in 2009, 15Malaysia became an unprecedented cultural phenomenon. 15Malaysia is presented as part of the Caravanserai: Malaysia project, produced by Society for the Performing Arts and Arts Midwest. Pete Teo is an award-winning musician, actor, and ... more info

Rubens: The Spectacle of Life

Directed by Miguel Ángel Trujillo
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Spectacular Rubens. The unique, one-hour documentary Rubens: The Spectacle of Life offers a fascinating overview of the life, career, and legacy of renowned artist Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640). His development from a young prodigy to the most-celebrated artist of his day unfolds in excerpts from his personal letters; vivid depictions of his masterworks; and scenes shot in his legendary residence. Narrating this story of Rubens and his influence is Alejandro Vergara, senior curator of ... more info

Exit through the Gift Shop

Directed by Banksy
Free admission Presented in collaboration with hang@MFAH This inside story about street art offers a brutal and revealing account of what happens when fame, money, and vandalism collide. An eccentric shopkeeper-turned-amateur filmmaker attempts to capture many of the world's most infamous vandals on camera, only to have a British stencil artist named Banksy turn the camcorder back on its owner with wildly unexpected results. One of the most provocative films about art ever made, Exit through the Gift Shop is a ... more info

Extremely Young Film Festival

Directed by various directors
The Extremely Young Film Festival showcases the innovative talents of young filmmakers from around the world. Aurora Picture Show accepts submissions for short-film entries in two age categories: youth and teen. All types of short films—including stop-motion, live action, and documentary—are eligible. Born out of the spirit of Aurora Picture Show's Extremely Shorts Film Festival, for film and video under 3 minutes long, Extremely Young Film Festival puts the spotlight on entries by filmmakers from age 7 to 17. The ... more info

Monsters, Inc.

Directed by Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Shadow Monsters The animated feature Monsters, Inc. tells the story of lovable Sulley (voice of John Goodman) and his wisecracking sidekick, Mike (Billy Crystal). They are the top scare team at the scream-processing factory in Monstropolis. When a little girl named Boo wanders into their world, it's the monsters who are scared silly, and it's up to Sulley and Mike to keep her out of sight and get her back home. Admission 1 p.m. Thursday, ... more info

Aurora Boot Camp: World Premiere

Directed by Various Directors
Meet the next generation of Houston filmmakers! This showcase presents short films by young people enrolled in the summer filmmaking boot camps at Aurora Picture Show. Admission is free! No tickets needed. No need to pay general Museum admission. more info

The Quays in 35mm

Directed by Christopher Nolan, Stephen and Timothy Quay
Since the late 1970s, identical twins Stephen and Timothy Quay have amassed a filmography distinguished by their innovative and mesmerizing puppet animation. Filtering visual, literary, musical, cinematic, and philosophical influences through their own utterly distinctive sensibility, each film features a hypnotic control of decor, music, and movement. Quay is a new short by Christopher Nolan, a prominent member of their cult following. Nolan’s homage is paired in this program with several of the Quays’ iconic shorts: Street of Crocodiles, The ... more info

Jonathan Demme Presents: Made in Texas

Directed by various directors
Introduced by Louis Black, "Austin Chronicle" editor and SXSW cofounder The screening is followed by a Q&A with Louis Black and Sandy K. Boone, an actress in the short "Invasion of the Aluminum People," which was directed by her late husband, David Boone While visiting Austin in 1981, Jonathan Demme viewed a number of local film productions. That October, he was inspired to screen Made in Texas: 6 Six New Films from Austin at the Collective for Living Cinema in New York ... more info

2015 “Manhattan Short” Film Festival

2015, in original languages with English subtitles
Directed by Various directors
Film festival pricing: General admission is $10. Museum members, students with ID, and seniors (65+) receive a $2 discount. During the week of September 25 to October 4, more than 100,000 film lovers in over 250 cities across six continents view and vote on the finalists in the 18th-annual “Manhattan Short” Film Festival. This is a very popular annual event, so get your tickets early! See the winners. more info

Gertrude Barnstone: Home Movie

Directed by Jon Schwartz
Introduced by filmmaker Jon Schwartz Gertrude Barnstone and photographer Arthur Meyerson join Schwartz in a post-film discussion. In his latest film essay, Jon Schwartz (This Is Our Home, It Is Not for Sale and Seymour Schwartz: Home Movie) showcases the astonishing life and career of native Houstonian Gertrude Barnstone (born 1925). He details her youthful beginnings as an artist, her stint as an actress in the 1940s, her pioneering liberal influence on the Houston Independent School District, and her marriage to architect Howard Barnstone. The ... more info

Heart of a Dog

Directed by Laurie Anderson
Indiewire calls this film by renowned musician/artist Laurie Anderson “powerful and personal.” The documentary covers themes of bereavement, love, and memory as the artist reflects on the deaths of her mother; her beloved rat terrier, Lolabelle; and her husband, rocker Lou Reed. Anderson’s narration connects images and sounds, home movies and photographs, and animation into a poignant memoir.  Read more in "Sight & Sound" magazine. more info


Directed by Ken Harrison
Post-film discussion with artist James Surls Moderated by Pete Gershon, coordinator, Core Residency Program, Glassell School of Art Independent filmmaker Ken Harrison provides a look into the contemporary Texas art world of the mid-1970s. Jackelope is loosely divided into three segments focusing on three young artists: James Surls, George Green, and Bob Wade. This fascinating time capsule captures each artist in casual moments, sharing ideas about art, the artistic process, and life in Texas. Jackelope also includes appearances by fellow ... more info

Don’t Blink - Robert Frank

Directed by Laura Israel
Presented by filmmaker Laura Israel The MFAH has served as the repository and distributor of films by legendary photographer Robert Frank (born 1924) for more than three decades. This relationship has led to the preservation of essential works in the artist’s filmography, as well as hundreds of screenings and retrospectives around the world. The Museum hosts one of the first public screenings of the new feature-length documentary Robert Frank - Don't Blink prior to its national release. Several years ago, ... more info

Lebanon: Of Wars and Men

2012, in Arabic and French with English subtitles
Directed by Frédéric Laffont
Presented by Jean-Pierre Filiu, a renowned Arabist who is on the faculty at Sciences Po in Paris This enlightening, three-part documentary traces the history of the civil war within Lebanon (1975–90). Narrated in English, the film includes powerful interviews with those who lived through the violence and devastation. Their testimonials are illustrated with archival footage telling a complicated story of the many crises and reversals that have obscured humanity’s perception of this country. Concluding his chronology in 2012, director Frédéric ... more info

2016 Core Residency Films

Directed by various directors
The Core Program at the Glassell School of Art awards residencies to exceptional, motivated visual artists and critical writers who have completed their undergraduate or graduate training and are working to develop a sustainable practice. MFAH Films presents two different screenings of short films and videos by this year’s artists-in-residence in conjunction with the 2016 Core Exhibition. Each screening is followed by a discussion with the filmmakers, facilitated by the Core Program’s critical-studies residents. Drop in! This program is free. ... more info