Exploratorium director chooses films that speak cinematic language

Liz Keim, the director of the cinema arts program and senior curator at the Exploratorium, has been working at the museum since 1977.

How do you decide what films and exhibits to feature? I follow my passion and keep my ear to the ground of what’s happening locally, nationally and internationally. I think about those films that typically won’t be seen on television. They’re also films that take the cinematic language into account — they don’t just look at content, but they’re innovative in the way they convey and communicate content.

What type of holiday programming are you curating? The first program is right around the corner and it is part of our big Exploratorium After Dark party, which is our evening series the first Thursday of every month. This one is called Fire and Ice.

How will Fire and Ice be integrated? This one is opening up a filmmaker in residence. [Earl Stirling] uses cinema and installation by projecting fire onto a big block of ice. It looks like there is a flame and he’s really, in an imaginative way, creating this exquisite tension between these elements of nature.

What other unique programming do you have scheduled this winter? In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy we’re showing a documentary called “Blast.” It’s a contemporary film made this year, following a team of scientists who are attempting to launch a revolutionary new telescope into the skies with a high-altitude balloon. It’s a NASA-made balloon in order to see how all the galaxies are formed.

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