SFI Premieres Beckett-Keaton 'Film' Collaboration Documentary 'Notfilm'
August 9, 2016
Samuel Beckett examines a piece of film

Samuel Beckett

In 1964, acclaimed author Samuel Beckett set out on one of the strangest ventures in cinematic history: his embattled collaboration with silent era genius Buster Keaton on the production of a short avant-garde film entitled, simply, "Film." Beckett was nearing the peak of his fame, which would culminate in his receiving a Nobel Prize five years later. Keaton, in his waning years, never lived to see Beckett's canonization. Now, the Sonoma Film Institute (SFI) at Sonoma State University opens its 2016 fall season with the North Bay premiere of "Notfilm," a new documentary on the making of Beckett's only film, on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. in Warren Auditorium.

"Film" had been largely forgotten until documentarian and restorationist Ross Lipman decided to explore what brought these two legends into an unlikely collaboration. From that investigation comes "Notfilm," a moving and riveting documentary that examines both men's creative lives, their on-set tension -- Keaton never really figured out what Beckett was trying to accomplish -- and the long, strange shadow their short film left behind. The SFI screening of "Notfilm" will be preceded by "Film."

The fall season also includes a special live performance of "Music from the Movies" by singer Wesla Whitfield with Mike Greensill in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Tickets for this concert are $30 and include a parking pass. Visit for tickets.

All film screenings are in Warren Auditorium, located in Ives Hall at Sonoma State University. Suggested ticket donation is $5, parking on campus is $5-$8. For more information visit or call (707) 664-2606.

Full SFI Fall 2016 Schedule

Friday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 28 at 4 p.m.

Notfilm (Ross Lipman, 2015)
Documentary on the making of director Alan Schneider's "Film," written by Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett, starring Buster Keaton with cinematography by Boris Kaufman. Screening with "Film" (1964).

Friday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 4 at 4 p.m.

(Jayro Bustamante, 2015, in Spanish with English subtitles) Bustamante's masterful debut feature is an intensely lovely immersion into contemporary rural Guatemalan culture. 

Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 11 at 4 p.m.

What Remains
(Steve Cantor, 2005) Documentary on photographer Sally Mann. Internationally recognized photographer and Santa Rosa Junior College faculty member Renata Breth will introduce the film at the Friday night screening.

Friday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 18 at 4 p.m.

Ali: Fear Eats The Soul
(Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974, in German and Arabic with English subtitles) Rainer Werner Fassbinder's wry and tender romance/social-commentary.

Friday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 25 at 4 p.m.

Love Me Tonight
(Rouben Mamoulian, 1932) Musical with Rodgers and Hart score. Starring Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charlie Ruggles and Charles Butterworth

Friday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

"Music and the Movies"
This live special event in Schroeder Hall at SSU's Green Music Center features singer Wesla Whitfield with Mike Greensill. Whitfield, nationally known for her dazzling performances from the Great American Songbook, presents an evening of music from the movies with accompanist Mike Greensill in a special fund raising performance for the Sonoma Film Institute. Tickets are $30 and include a parking pass. Visit for tickets.

Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m.

Paths of the Soul
(Zhang Yang, 2015, in Tibetan w/English subtitles) A captivating and profound portrait of a small group of Tibetan villagers on an arduous pilgrimage to the holy city of Lhasa.

Friday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m.

(Pema Tseden, 2016, in Tibetan w/English subtitles) New prize-winning film from Tibet's most acclaimed director. 

Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.

Lorna's Silence
(Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2009, in French w/English subtitles)

Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 30 at 4 p.m.

No Home Movie
(Chantal Akerman, 2015, in French w/English subtitles) The late director Chantal Akeraman's documentary on her relationship with her mother.

Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 6 at 4 p.m.

(Emanuele Crialese, 2013, in Italian w/English subtitles)

Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 13 at 4 p.m.

Aparajito (The Unvanquished) 
(Satyajit Ray, 1956, in Bengali w/English subtitles) The second film in Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy after "Pather Panchali." SSU Film Professor Dr. Ajay Gehlawat will introduce the film at the Sunday screening.

Friday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20 at 4 p.m. 

Our Last Tango
(German Kral, 2015, in Spanish w/English subtitles) Documentary about famous Argentinian tango dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes.

Friday, Dec. 2 

The Pirate 
(Vincente Minnelli, 1948) Great Cole Porter musical with Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Walter Slezak and the Nicholas Brothers. 

Media Contact

Nicolas Grizzle