The department of film and video exhibits and promotes the medium of film as a fine and popular art. To fulfill this mission, the department’s primary goals are to introduce and/or expose the broadest possible audience to the genius of the moving image; to deliver state-of-the-art presentation; to respond to an evolving medium; to stimulate communication and/or dialogue through the shared experience of watching films and video on a big screen; and to inspire the next generation to value film and other screen arts. Learn more below, and visit mfah.org/film to see the film schedule.
The Films of Robert Frank
The Museum has been involved with the moving-image work of photographer Robert Frank since the early 1980s. This relationship began during research for the 1986 exhibition Robert Frank: New York to Nova Scotia. Learning from the artist that a fire had destroyed the original negative of his seminal first film, Pull My Daisy, the Museum obtained funding to work with Frank on its preservation. Additionally, a short documentary, Fire in the East: A Portrait of Robert Frank, was produced by the Museum and Houston PBS.
The Museum presented a retrospective of Frank’s film and video to accompany Robert Frank: New York to Nova Scotia and subsequently coordinated screenings at other institutions that presented the exhibition. Pleased by this initiative, the artist designated the MFAH as the repository of his film and video in 1987. He also provided copies of many of his films for the Museum’s collection. Preservation of additional Frank films was undertaken by the Museum in 1993.
The Museum manages the exclusive distribution of 25 of Frank’s films released from 1959 to 2009. Hundreds of screenings have been arranged at museums, universities, film festivals, and cultural institutions around the world. The Museum also serves as a resource on Frank’s films, assisting scholars, curators, researchers, and film critics.
Read descriptions of Frank's films at the links below, and learn more about accessing the films.
- Pull My Daisy (1959, b/w, 28 min.)
- The Sin of Jesus (1961, b/w, 40 min.)
- O.K. End Here (1963, b/w, 30 min.)
- Me and My Brother (1965-68, re-edited 1997, b/w and color, 91 min.)
- Conversations in Vermont (1969, b/w, 26 min.)
- Life-Raft Earth (1969, color, 37 min.)
- About Me: A Musical (1971, b/w, 35 min.)
- Keep Busy (1975, b/w, 30 min.)
- Life Dances On (1980, b/w and color, 30 min.)
- Energy and How to Get It (1981, b/w, 28 min.)
- This Song for Jack (1983, b/w, 30 min.)
- Home Improvements (1985, color, 29 min.)
- Fire in the East: A Portrait of Robert Frank (1986, color, 28 min.)
- Hunter (1989, b/w and color, 36 min.)
- C’est Vrai (1990, color, 60 min.)
- Last Supper (1992, color, 52 min.)
- The Present (1996, color, 27 min.)
- Flamingo (1996, b/w, 5 min.)
- I Remember (1998, color, 7 min.)
- Sanyu (2000, b/w + color, 27 min.)
- Paper Route (2002, color, 23 min.)
- True Story (2004/2008, color and b&w, 26 min.)
- Tunnel (2008, color and b&w, 4 min.)
- Fernando (2008, color, 12 min.)
- Robert Frank: A Bibliography, Filmography, and Exhibition Chronology, 1946–1985
- Robert Frank: New York To Nova Scotia
Film Buffs is the Museum’s membership group for movie lovers. Members receive free admission to a number of screenings each year; passes to sneak previews of new releases; and invitations to social events and programs with visiting filmmakers and members of the Houston film community. Since the group was established in 1996, members have met industry professionals such as director Charles Burnett; actors Stockard Channing and Peter Fonda; and Houstonians Wes Anderson, Jonathan Caouette, and Richard Linklater.
Join Film Buffs
The MFAH Collections
To explore all of the Museum’s works of art, search the collection.