Scientific Psychedelia - Thur. June 11th - 8PM

Oddball Films presents Scientific Psychedelia, a program of eye-popping short science and nature films from the 1920s-1980s that capture nature's most surreal, kaleidoscopic and magnificent moments.  From microscopic creatures and processes to a space landscape in 3D, to the intricacies of animal movement, these films will open your eyes to the natural wonders that lay within and beyond our own eyesight.  Join Homer Groening (Matt's father) as he recontextualizes water and creates a Study in Wet (1964). Behold the ghostly landscapes of our closest planet in Mars in 3D: Images from the Viking Mission (1983). Award-wining filmmaker Carroll Ballard’s (The Black Stallion) abstract film Crystallization  (1975) explores the intricate and dazzling formation of crystals in liquids all set to an innovative electronic sound score.  Tiny alien creatures abound in the microscopic slides of photographer-biologist Roman Vishniac, in The Big Little World of Roman Vishniac (1980's), whose wondrously amorphous images come to resemble avant-garde cinema. Go inside one of the world's most controversial flowers and see the life cycle of the heroin poppy using time-lapse photography in the eerie and breathtaking Dream Flowers (1935).  Basic physical principles are the focus of Invisible Forces (1920s), and the visuals of capillary action in sugarcubes will tantalize and mesmerize. Bell Laboratories brings us Laser (1979), another stunner all about harnessing the power of light for medical and scientific purposes. Watch the surreal movements of rays in French medical film Eagle Ray Experiment (1935).   Plus, synthed out close-ups of exotic fish in Aquarium (1978) and another trip through space with NASA in Spaceborne (1977) for the early birds. All films screened in 16mm from the archive.

Date: Thursday, June 11th, 2015 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117


Study in Wet (Color, 1964)
A short, semi-experimental piece from Matt Groening's father, Homer Groening.  As a title card informs us in the beginning, everything in this film is wet; from mesmerizing reflections on the ocean to groovy 60s surfer chicks to the melodic drip drip dripping of the soundtrack (which is a recording of water droplets falling into a bathtub).  The trippy visuals will make you think that optical effects were used, but it's simply the magic of science, nature and Groening's eye that bring us such incredible and otherworldly imagery.

Mars in 3-D: Images from the Viking Mission (Color, 1983)
Eery images of the planet Mars from the Viking space mission. Shows overhead views of geological features, spooky landscapes and the Viking operating all in old-fashioned red and blue 3D. 

Crystallization (Color, 1975)
Directed by award-wining filmmaker Carroll Ballard (The Black Stallion) this hypnotic non-narrative film explores the formation of crystals in liquids through the electron microscope under polarized light all set to an early 70s electronic sound score. Screened at the SF International Film Festival and winner of the Golden Gate Award in 1975.

Dream Flowers (1930s, B+W)
Beautiful time-lapse photography is used illustrate the opium poppy’s life cycle, from eager bud to the gracefully shedding of its bounty of seeds.  Watch as these innocent flowers are processed into “the scourge of the East”, all deliciously narrated in crisp BBC English.

Invisible Forces (1920s, B+W)

In Invisible Forces, surface tension and capillary action are demonstrated using sugarcubes, soap bubbles and a couple of genuine ordinary people of the 1920s, whose film careers ended here, we’re pretty sure.

The Big Little World of Roman Vishniac (Color, 1980’s)
Photographer, biologist, and art historian, Roman Vishniac is most widely remembered for his photographic documentation of pre-Holocaust Jewish culture in Central and Eastern Europe.  Vishniac also contributed to the development of photo microscopy (photographs taken through microscopic lens) and time-lapse photography.  In this film, showcasing various marine specimens, the gentle Vishniac discusses his love of the natural world and the abundance of life found on the seashore.  

Laser (Color, 1979 Robert Deubel)
A lush and mesmerizing visual depiction of lasers and their various uses from medical to industrial.  From gorgeous vintage laboratory interiors to an optical kaleidoscope of the many uses of this magical harnessed light beam, with a great moogy soundtrack.

Eagle Ray Experiment (B+W, 1935, silent with added sound)
Soaring and diving in hypnotic concentric circles, the eagle rays in this French medical film form almost abstract patterns while swimming in their tanks. Ray flesh seen in extreme close up jitters and recoils across the entire screen, recognizable only as living, resisting tissue. This is definitely the most beautiful medical film in the archive, and as long as you can’t read the French inter titles, you won’t find out why the good docteur is so keen on these poor creatures.

Aquarium (Color, 1978)
A close-up look at colorful and exotic sea creatures set to a synthesizer sound score.

For the Early Birds:

Spaceborne (1977, Color)
 Take a ‘trip’ through the cosmos through the eyes of NASA.  This film floats through local and deep space with a visually stunning array of images gathered from a decade plus of space exploration and investigation. Footage from manned flights, telescopes, and observatories come together in this mind-blowing compilation set to futuristic electronic music.  Leave the world behind and delve into the realm of galaxies, stars, and planets.

About Oddball Films
Oddball films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.