The San Francisco Art Institute (A Ghost Story)

Rental Format(s): Digital File

"The San Francisco Art Institute was founded in 1871 and was the oldest Art School west of the Mississippi. In July 2022, mostly due to mismanagement for decades, overexpansion, severe tuition and a falling number of students it filed for bankruptcy.

"Contemporary filmmakers and who taught in the Film Dept. include, George Kuchar, Lawrence Jordan, Ernie Gehr, Steve Anker, Gunvor Nelson, Barbara Hammer, just to name a few. I also taught there from time to time.

"Diego Rivera has a masterpiece painting in the main Student Gallery estimated value in excess of $25 million dollars.

"Among the earliest film teachers there were, Sidney Peterson, James Broughton, and many others. Stan Brakhage received an honorary Doctor's Degree in 1981. The property has recently been purchased by Mrs. Jobs along with two other non profit organization for $31 million dollars. This purchase includes the mural by Diego Rivera.

"I had the chance to capture two rolls of black and white reversal imagery on the last day that the building at 800 Chestnut had its' doors open. I combined that imagery with footage that I shot in my class when I taught at the San Francisco Art Institute." -- DA

"The San Francisco Art Institute (A Ghost Story) is Dominic Angerame's unique tribute to the history and present-day of San Francisco's long-running legendary film school and the oldest art institution west of the Mississippi River, which closed permanently in July 2022. Composed of two parts, the SFAI students' experimental film project, developed under Angerame's supervision, and Angerame's footage shot on an abandoned campus shortly prior to the school's closure, The San Francisco Art Institute celebrates the SFAI's long tradition of alternative film programs. Retaining a semi-supernatural quality, Angerame's film nostalgically reflects on the SFAI's material and intellectual legacy through individual stories of former students, librarians and faculty, tracing not the physical decay of the school's premises, but its spirit of innovation and still unfulfilled potential. Once a hub of creativity and a birthplace of ideas that have shaped the SF Bay Area experimental film scene, the SFAI is now replete with ghostly figures, specters, shadows and memories, but perhaps it is not the final chapter of the school's rich history." -- Kornelia Boczkowska, author of Lost Highways, Embodied Travels: The Road Movie in American Experimental Film and Video,

"A beacon of creativity, a cauldron of experimentation and a haunted space of an (im)possible future - Dominic Angerame's The San Francisco Art Institute (A Ghost Story) spins a micro-portrait of SFAI through time-lapsed and superimposed 16mm celuloid images, bursting with creative student inspired energies. Images of a vital art school are sadly replaced by cruel brutalist cement slabs of cursed capitalist indifference. This gem-of-a-film continues Angerame's long sonic collaboration with musician Kevin Barnard. Here Barnard provides a nuanced and uplifting score which projects unexpected hope into the tragedy of this film art requiem. Angerame's persistent experimental cine-documentation always speaks to beautiful and redemptive new forms in the face of seemingly impossible odds, and this work is nothing less!" -- David Sherman, filmmaker, Professor

"I have such wonderful memories of teaching the the film department at SFAI 1977-80 when Dominic was one of the creative visionaries that made IT Happen!" -- Sky David

Music "Feather" by Kevin Barnard

Production format: 16mm

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Digital File $40.00  

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