Documentary director to present collection of films

Don’t miss your chance to see “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 peculiar and rather humorous realities of life.

Sam Green, film director of short documentaries since the late 1990s, will be visiting Mercyhurst University on Friday, April 26, to share a compilation of his documentary shorts.

As part of the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture’s On Screen/In Person film series, this collection of short films is titled What We Need is the Impossible.

Green’s documentary shorts commonly explore eclectic subjects such as the world’s largest shopping mall or an exploration of the little-known universal language of Esperanto.

What We Need is the Impossible features seven of Green’s films, one of which his latest documentary, The Universal Language.

In the later half of the 19th century, a Polish doctor by the name of Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof created a new language called Esperanto. He did so with the hopes that a common and universal manner of speaking could help humanity overcome racism and war.

Following into the early 20th century, hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world welcomed the simplistic, user-friendly and politically neutral dialect.

Today, Esperanto still has a wide and prominent following.

Other documentary shorts that are included in What We Need is the Impossible are 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 obtained his master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied documentary with acclaimed and praised 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. A live score by indie rock band Yo La Tengo is featured in his documentary The Love Song of R.

Buckminster Fuller. He has also 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

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

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

Tickets are available at $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