Filmmaker shares documentary shorts


Director Sam Green has been making short documentaries since the late 1990s, exploring eclectic subjects including the world’s largest shopping mall to an exploration of the little-known universal language of Esperanto.

Green will visit the Mercyhurst University campus April 26 to present a collection of his documentary shorts titled What We Need is the Impossible as part of the On Screen/In Person film series presented by the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture.

The screening will take place at 2:15 and 7:15 p.m. in the Taylor Little Theatre. A Q-and-A with the director will follow the 7:15 p.m. screening.

What We Need is the Impossible features seven of Green’s films, including his latest documentary, The Universal Language. In the late 1800s, a Polish doctor created a new language called Esperanto in the hopes that a worldwide, common tongue could help humanity overcome racism and war. During the early 20th century, hundreds of thousands of people around the world embraced the easy-to-learn and politically neutral dialect, which surprisingly still has a vibrant following today.

Other documentary shorts featured in What We Need is the Impossible include Utopia Part 3: The World’s Largest Shopping Mall, a tour of a behemoth retail complex near Guangzhou, China; Pie Fight ’69, the story of independent filmmakers who raided the 1969 San Francisco International Film Festival’s fur and tuxedo-clad crowd on opening night; The Fabulous Stains: Behind the Movie, the remarkable story behind the 1981 cult film about three girls who start a punk band, which he co-directed with Sarah Jacobson; N-Judah 5:30, a portrait of a San Francisco streetcar filled with small, rich moments; lot 63, grave c, an elegy of Meredith Hunter, the teenager who was killed by Hells Angels at the Rolling Stones’ Altamont rock in 1969; and Clear Glasses, about a pair of spectacles Green received from his former interview subjects, Mark Rudd of The Weather Underground, as a gift.

Green received his master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied documentary with acclaimed filmmaker Marlon Riggs. His film The Weather Underground was nominated for an Academy Award in 2004, broadcast nationally on PBS, and included in the Whitney Biennial. His documentary The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller features a live score by indie rock band Yo La Tengo. He has received grants from the Creative Capital, Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit his website at

Don’t miss What We Need is the Impossible, a collection of films by an Academy Award nominee who celebrates idealism and the search for meaning tied to the often humorous realities of life.

The 2012-2013 season of On Screen/In Person is supported by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, $4 for President’s Cardholders and free for Mercyhurst students with ID. Tickets can be purchased by calling 814-824-3000 or by visiting

PHOTO: The Fabulous Stains: Behind the Movie.



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