BAMPFA Announces Return of In-Person Film Screenings, Starting with Outdoor Movies This Summer


Outdoor Film Series Begins Thursday, August 12

Indoor Film Screenings Return Wednesday, September 1


(Berkeley, CA) July 13, 2021—The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) announced today that it will resume in-person film screenings next month, beginning with a series of free programs presented on the museum’s massive outdoor screen. BAMPFA’s return to in-person film programming will begin on Thursday, August 12 with a free screening of Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power, the first of three outdoor screenings celebrating iconic trailblazers from the Bay Area and beyond. BAMPFA’s Barbro Osher Theater will reopen for indoor screenings beginning Wednesday, September 1, and the theater will serve as the exclusive East Bay venue for the Mill Valley Film Festival the following month.


“It’s thrilling to welcome our community of filmgoers back to BAMPFA after this difficult year, and I can’t imagine a better way to do so than with a series of free screenings presented al fresco on the museum’s outdoor screen,” said Susan Oxtoby, BAMPFA’s director of film and senior film curator. “For nearly eighteen months, we’ve been deeply moved by the support of our devoted audiences, who have continued to engage with BAMPFA’s film programming during our pivot to virtual cinema. We’re delighted to invite our audiences to return in person now that restrictions have been lifted.”


Presented in partnership with the Downtown Berkeley Association, BAMPFA’s free outdoor film series will feature three acclaimed documentaries from the past year, each of which highlight the contributions of artists and activists who have deep connections to the Bay Area. Attendees are invited to set up lawn chairs and blankets in front of BAMPFA’s outdoor LED screen, located on Addison Street less than five minutes’ walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Dates and descriptions for the outdoor screenings follow below, and screener links are available on request.


  • Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power (Abby Ginzberg, 2020)

Thursday, August 12 at 7 PM 

With unique access to a sitting member of Congress, her family, and her colleagues, award-winning Bay Area filmmaker Abby Ginzberg profiles East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee and her decades of advocacy in this compelling and inspiring documentary. Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power follows Lee from her hometown as she reminisces on her early years as a single mother dependent on federal aid, to her work with the Black Panthers, and her pivotal friendships with Shirley Chisholm and Ron Dellums.


  • Sisters with Transistors (Lisa Rovner, 2020)

Thursday, August 26 at 7 PM

Sisters with Transistors highlights the work of nine pioneering female composers who continue to inspire new generations and influence how music is made and appreciated. Illustrated with a sensuous montage of archival materials and interviews, the documentary features Clara Rockmore, whose virtuosic performances on the theremin vetted its orchestral viability; Delia Derbyshire, whose haunting compositions—like the indelible Doctor Who theme—were realized before electronic music became commonplace; Laurie Spiegel, whose pioneering software harnessed the power of microcomputers in musical composition; and Berkeley’s own Suzanne Ciani, whose synthesizer compositions crossed over into concert halls, cinemas, and commercials.


  • Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (James LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham, 2020)

Thursday, September 9 at 7 PM

This culture-changing documentary draws on archival materials and intimate stories from campers, camp counselors, journalists, and activists to show how a summer camp for disabled teens in 1971 helped spark a civil rights movement for people with disabilities. The film follows the story of the disability rights movement from the Catskills through Berkeley and ultimately on to Washington DC, where it led to the historic passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Following the launch of its outdoor film series, BAMPFA will reopen the Osher Theater for indoor film screenings starting on Wednesday, September 1. Films will initially screen on Wednesday evenings, beginning with the return of two annual film series that will play on alternating weeks: Alternative Visions, which showcases the best of historic and contemporary avant-garde cinema; and Documentary Voices, which highlights important voices in international documentary film. BAMPFA will resume its standard five-day weekly film schedule beginning on October 8 with the opening of the Mill Valley Film Festival, when the museum will renew its role as the Festival’s exclusive East Bay venue.


Full programs for each of these series will be announced later this summer; visit for the latest program updates, as well as the current safety guidelines related to Covid-19. BAMPFA will continue to offer virtual film rentals on its website throughout the fall, and the museum’s art galleries have been open to visitors since May 2021. The selection for this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival will be announced in September; visit for the latest Festival updates.



An internationally recognized arts institution with deep roots in the Bay Area, the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) is a forum for cultural experiences that transform individuals and advance the local, national, and global discourse on art and film. BAMPFA is UC Berkeley’s premier visual arts venue, presenting more than 450 film screenings, scores of public programs, and more than fifteen exhibitions annually. With its vibrant and eclectic programming, BAMPFA inspires the imagination and ignites critical dialogue through art, film, and other forms of creative expression. 


The institution’s collection of more than 28,000 works of art encompasses pieces dating from 3000 BCE to the present day and includes important holdings of Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Japanese paintings and woodblock prints of the Edo period, Indian miniatures, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and conceptual art. BAMPFA’s collection also includes more than 18,000 films and videos, including the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, impressive holdings of Soviet cinema, West Coast avant-garde film, and seminal video art, as well as hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film.


Posted by afox on July 13, 2021