Project Description

Robb Moss

Portrait of Robb Moss

FSC-Harvard Fellow – Before 2004, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2009-10, 2010-11

Robb Moss’s most recent project, Containment, is about the disposition of nuclear waste for now and for the next 10,000 years.  Co-directed with Peter Galison, the film premiered at Full Frame in 2015 and has shown in more than forty festivals and other venues, including in Berlin, Paris, Rio, Budapest, Beirut, Sheffield, Cuernavaca, and Tasmania. Art Galleries in Dublin, Sydney and Antwerp have used the film as the foundation for exhibitions, and Moss and Galison re-made the film as an installation piece for the Steirischer Herbst art festival in Graz, Austria. Previous films,  Secrecy (2008-directed with Galison) and The Same River Twice, (2003) produced at the Film Study Center and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and, together, showed in more than fifty film festivals and in over one hundred theatres.

The Same River Twice was nominated for a 2004 Independent Spirit Award, and  Secrecy  was screened by the Congressional Record and the ACLU in an effort to help think through government secrecy’s relationship to national security and democracy.

Earlier autobiographical and essay films, including  The Tourist (1991) and Riverdogs (1981) showed at such venues as Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the Cinema du Reel in Paris and the Independent Film Festival Amsterdam.

Moss has been a creative advisor at the Sundance Institute’s Doc Edit Labs since their inception in 2004, worked as a festival juror at Sundance, San Francisco, Denver, Camden, Seattle, Chicago, New England, and Ann Arbor, served eight years as a Board Director for ITVS, and has taught filmmaking at Harvard for the past twenty-five years where he is a Harvard College Professor and Chair of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies.

He is currently at work on the third film of a trilogy—started in 1978—that follows a group of friends over forty years.

FSC Works

Film Still from Secrecy


Peter Galison & Robb Moss, video, b/w & color, 85 min. (2008)

This film is about the vast, invisible world of government secrecy. By focusing on classified secrets, the government’s ability to put information out of sight if it would harm national security, Secrecy explores the tensions between our safety as a nation, and our ability to function as a democracy.

In a single recent year the U.S. classified about five times the number of pages added to the Library of Congress. We live in a world where the production of secret knowledge dwarfs the production of open knowledge. Depending on whom you ask, government secrecy is either the key to victory in our struggle against terrorism, or our Achilles heel.

“Throughout the long process of making this film, we’ve intentionally not proceeded as if the issue of national security secrecy could be tied “solved” with an easy set of steps. We see the issues of secrecy as tough, among the hardest we face as we, and not just in the United States, struggle to bolster democracy in a time of great fear.”

Film Still from The Same River Twice

The Same River Twice

Robb Moss, video, 78 mins. (2003)

In 1978, award-winning filmmaker Robb Moss and a closeknit group of free-spirited friends and lovers took a month-long trip through the depths of the Grand Canyon; a breathtaking, white-water rafting adventure down the Colorado River.

Cutting between footage of their youthful — often naked — live-in-the-moment existences and the complex realities of their adulthood today, the film travels the road from peyote to Prozac, creating a compelling portrait of cultural metamorphosis and the struggle to find one’s place in the world.

The Same River Twiceis an intimate depiction of those baby boomers who took the Sixties seriously, and then grew up.

It premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and traveled to numerous other festivals including Berlin, Rio, San Francisco, Munich, Vancouver, and Ankara.

The Same River Twice as the best documentary of 2003.

Distributed by Docurama, New York, and by Bullfrog Films, Oley, PA.

Film Still from Containment


Peter Galison & Robb Moss, 81 min. (2015)

Can we contain some of the deadliest, most long-lasting substances ever produced? Left over from the Cold War are a hundred million gallons of radioactive sludge, covering vast radioactive lands. Governments around the world, desperate to protect future generations, have begun imagining society 10,000 years from now in order to create monuments that will speak across time. Part observational essay filmed in weapons plants, Fukushima and deep underground–and part graphic novel–Containment weaves between an uneasy present and an imaginative, troubled far future, exploring the idea that over millennia, nothing stays put.