San Francisco Art & Film for Teens


Free cultural programs for teens, including Friday night film screenings, Saturdays art walks and free seats to cultural events. Open to all Bay Area students, middle school through college. Established 1993. 


Friday 6

Cine Club @ SF Art Institute (800 Chestnut Street)
Jim Jarmusch's DOWN BY LAW (1986, USA)

A bizarre take on male bonding sure to make you laugh: a radio DJ, a pimp and an Italian tourist find themselves sharing a cramped New Orleans prison cell.  They can’t stand each other, but they’re forced to make nice as they plan a daring escape through the Louisiana bayou. 

Why we show this film:
This film follows three grown men who, at the start, are anything but adults. Real-life musician Tom Waits plays his gravel-voiced best as a bourbon soaked DJ, and Jarmusch regular John Lurie is an incompetent pimp. That they didn't do the crimes that land them in prison (with Roberto Benigni's hilariously bewildered tourist who seems to have wandered in from another film) doesn't mean that they aren't responsible for landing themselves in trouble. Ultimately the film can be looked at as a study of the developmentally arrested man-child. Breaking out of prison might be the first real decision these men have made in their lives... not that don't still have a long road ahead of them.

About the director:
Jim Jarmusch started out as a writer, studying journalism and poetry, and his characters definitely spend a lot of time talking (for example his 2004 film Coffee and Cigarettes is made entirely of a long series of conversations by people smoking and drinking). When they aren't talking they're thinking aloud, with philosophical and poetic voiceovers featuring in many of his films. 

His early films, Permanent Vacation and Stranger Than Paradise, were made on tiny budgets, but gained him popularity in American independent film circles. 1995's Dead Man starring Johnny Depp as a slowly dying poet/murderer recieved international acclaim, but it was his 1999 tale of a samurai hitman, Ghost Dog, that brought him mainstream attention in America. 

Friday 13

Cine Club @ SF Art Institute (800 Chestnut Street)
Brady Corbet's CHILDHOOD OF A LEADER (2015, USA)

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At the end of WWI, in a tiny French village, the son of an American diplomat lives with his mother while his father negotiates the Treaty of Versailles. To watch as this future dictator is molded by his surroundings is both captivating and terrifying.

Why we show this film:
Films about major moments in history this good are rare. Here we find ourselves at the end of WWI as borders in Europe in the Middle East are being redrawn at the Treaty of Versailles to suite the victorious French, British and Americans, while creating the conditions in Germany for fascism to take hold.

This film takes place with those leading characters in the background of the childhood of a boy who will grow up to become a dictator.  It grapples with world power implications, but it is also a dynamic illustration of how upbringing and context can raise a monster.

About the director:
Brady Corbet won best director in Venice for this debut film. Born in Arizona, he had been working as an actor since he was eleven.  He worked with first rate directors in Melancolia, Clouds of Sils Maria and Funny Games, Learning from them he spent 11 years developing the script for this film.


Saturday 14

Art Saturday @ Minnesota Street Project

11 am Meet at Philz Coffee (1258 Minnesota St)

11:15 Tour of Minnesota Street Project art galleries

1 pm Picnic lunch at Esprit Park (19th St and Minnesota St)

Friday 20

Cine Club @ SF Art Institute (800 Chestnut Street)
François Truffaut's THE 400 BLOWS (1959, France)

This screening has been generously sponsored by Jennifer Reese and Mark Smoyer.


Surrounded by out-of-touch adults, a boy must find his own way in this funny and moving story that follows his journey from school to reformatory to freedom. This film defined the invention and new thinking that was the French “New Wave.”

Why we show this film:
At the end of the 50’s a group of films invaded the world from France, created by a group of directors who never went to film school or even worked their way up the ladder in the industry.  Many of them started as film critics of all things, who were disgusted with the state of film and thought they could make them better. Guess what? They were right! Most of them wrote for a film review called “Cahiers du Cinema” and they had almost total control over their films thus earning the title “auteur” or "author" meaning the film was conceived, written, and directed by them.

The 400 Blows gives you a terrific look at what the excitement was all about—a free style, and a dedication to a truthful story with none of the Hollywood obligations, big budgets or stars.  There is a lot of vision and marvelous film making, and their films created stars by the carload—a gift to the world!

About the director:
Truffault's early life was filled with the same sort of unhappinesshe shows in this film: a broken home, misery at school, and a bout in jail. (He only went to jail because he couldn’t pay the bills for the film club he founded in high school!) 

He was bailed out by a film critic, Andre Barzin, who published the “Cahiers du Cinema” magazine.  It was under the mentorship of Barzin that Truffault developed his ideas about film, and it was his generation of young critics who launched the phenomena we refer to as “the new wave.” Truffault continued to make many films throughout his life, but none had the critical and popular impact as The 400 Blows.

Friday 27

Cine Club @ SF Art Institute
Stanley Kubrick' THE SHINING (1980, USA)


A hair-raising film from one of the world’s greatest directors is our idea of a Halloween treat. A writer looking for some solitude moves his wife and son to a resort hotel, closed for the winter.  As the snow falls, trapping them inside, the hotel begins to reveal its secrets!

Why we show this film:
A bit of psychological horror for Halloween! This film is packed fill of some of film horror's most classic imagery and quotable quotes. From the wall of blood to Jack Nicholson's manic face pressed through a broken door, this is one of the most frequently referenced films in history. The script is based on the book by stalwart horror writer, Stephen King

About the director:
Stanley Kubrick began as a talented photographer for Look magazine. He financed his own debut film, Fear and Desire, which he followed with two successful noir films, Killer’s Kiss and The Killing, and a WWI film Paths of Glory.

He was then involved in number of difficult film shoots. He worked on One-Eyed Jacks with Marlon Brando and Brando fired him. He was asked by Kirk Douglas to direct Spartucus, a huge epic which turned into a grueling affair because of disagreements with the star. He left for England to make Lolita and never returned, producing a steady line of classics including Dr. Strangelove2001A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon. He preferred working in England, and made his life there.

Saturday 28

Art Saturday @ The Exploratorium

This year Art & Film is very excited to announce a new partnership with one of San Francisco's most beloved cultural institutions, the Exploratorium! We've planned two Art Saturdays this year, each using the Exploratorium's unique art exhibits and extensive film collection to explore the intersection of science, art and human perception.

11 am Meet at the Kanbar Forum at The Exploratorium (Pier 15, The Embarcadero)

11:15 Tour a variety of the Exploratorium's art related exhibits.

12:30 pm Picnic lunch

1:00 pm A program of short films at the Kanbar Forum