The San Francisco Film Society will initiate an annual investigative documentary screening program with a weeklong theatrical run of Secrecy (SFIFF 2008), directed by Robb Moss and Peter Galison, October 24–31, 2008 at Landmark’s Opera Plaza Cinema; Need to Know: Uncovering Government Secrets, a panel discussion with experts in the field, 3:45 pm, October 25 at the Opera Plaza Cinema; and Meet the Maker: Practice and Craft with Robb Moss, a small group seminar on best documentary practices, 11 am, October 25 at the Ninth Street Independent Film Center Screening Room.
In today’s wired world most of us enjoy the luxury of free-flowing information 24 hours a day. So why does the United States government spend more time and money than ever before making sure we don’t have access to certain information? The seduction and power of secrecy is at the core of this provocative documentary from Robb Moss and Peter Galison. As the film focuses on journalists, lawyers and government officials who have spent their careers debating who should have access to crucial government data, the discussion raises important questions. Are secrets necessary for our national security? Is an informed American public the best way to fight terrorism? Where does the line exist between public safety and civil liberties? And, if secrets are necessary, who gets to know? Secrecy tactfully provides examples and insights that emphasize the pros and cons of confidentiality, while tracing the history of government secrecy. From World War II and the creation of the atom bomb through September 11 and recent abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, we see the role information management has played in some of this country’s biggest triumphs and tragedies. Moss and Galison combine credible talking-head interviews and real-world footage with stylized animation, pertinent art pieces and expressive music to create a layered, thought-provoking narrative. The issues and images of this timely, troubling documentary will stay with you for days and make you wonder about all of the things being kept from you. —Brendan Peterson
Photographed by Stephen McCarthy, Austin de Besche. 81 min. Distributed by Argot Pictures.
Codirector Robb Moss will participate in a Q&A following the 7 pm screening on Friday, October 24.
Moss will also participate in the Film Society’s new Meet the Maker series, featuring specifically focused presentations by guest filmmakers, at 11 am, Saturday, October 25 at the Ninth Street Independent Film Center Screening Room. Meet the Maker: Practice and Craft with Robb Moss will focus on investigative documentary filmmaking, methods of presentation and balanced representation. Enrollment for Meet the Maker is limited.
Also on Saturday, October 25 at 3:45 pm (after the 2 pm screening of Secrecy), there will be a panel discussion of the provocative questions raised in the film. The topics addressed by Need to Know: Uncovering Government Secrets will include the nature of the investigative process, examples of recent attempts at information management, the effects of making government secrets public, and the role of the media and litigation in forwarding the public's right to know. Each of the panelists has particular expertise in bringing to light critical information that the U.S. government has kept secret. Phil Bronstein, executive vice president and editor-at-large of the San Francisco Chronicle, will moderate with panelists Robb Moss, codirector of Secrecy; Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting, Berkeley; and Ben Wizner, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Secrecy: $9 for year-round SFFS members; $11 general; $10 seniors, students and persons with disabilities. Available in advance at https://tickets.landmarktheatres.com/.
Need to Know: Uncovering Government Secrets: free.
Meet the Maker: Practice and Craft with Robb Moss: $10 for year-round SFFS members; $15 general. Available online at www.sffs.org.
For more information, www.sffs.org.
Official Website: http://www.sffs.org/events/films/film_secrecy.html
Added by cinesoul on October 21, 2008