Bill Morrison in discussion with Michal Kosakowski


Michal Kosakowski is a director, writer, producer, director of photography and editor of numerous short and experimental films, documentaries and video installations. His body of work includes more than 70 films, many of which have been shown in international festivals and exhibitions, and have received numerous awards. Much of his work explores the way violence and war are embedded in our everyday lives. Kosakowski  presented a series of short films at UnionDocs that he created between 1999 and 2010 in Italy, Austria, Germany, and the Balkans.

After the screening, Bill Morrison, whose work typically pairs rare archival footage with contemporary music, led a discussion that explored the abstract and conceptual ideas at the heart of Kosakowski’s films and videos.

For more information on Kosakowski, who currently lives and works in Berlin where he is developing his forthcoming feature film ‘Dark Tourism’, visit


Bill Morrison (BM): The work is varied. The only piece I had seen before I was invited to introduce this program was Just like the Movies (2005). Michal and I have a mutual friend, so we’ve been in touch over the years. He sent me a copy of this film, and I suggested it for a gallery show that Nat Friedman programed on 9/11 on the towers. He has programmed it repeatedly. That was a very powerful work and a monumental piece of editing. I want to start with that piece because it is very different from the rest, mostly because it is not original footage, but also because it deals with different issues. Was there a certain film of all the films that you sourced that gave you the seed idea that this could be possible to do?

Michal Kosakowski (MK): Actually yes, there was one scene and it happened on 9/11 when I was sitting in Vienna in front of the television watching it live at CNN. There was one anchor that was so similar to the one from Godzilla (1998). The shot from Godzilla from 97/98, by Roland Emmerich… Almost everything was the same. So I thought: Are there more shots which are maybe similar to the one I saw on the television? I started collecting and researching, it took me five years to watch through 800 movies.

BM: What was your research method to find movies that might have the towers, and might follow your scenario?

MK: It was interesting, I was first of all focusing on movies where catastrophes happened, obviously, and then…

BM: Not just in New York, but in general…

BM: In general, yes. Most of the movies I found were from the 70’s, 80’s, and the 90’s obviously, this was the era of catastrophes movies. Then I continued to search in action movies, and all the movies I had in mind, because I saw so many.

BM: This was the type of movies you would see anyway? MK: Yes, you know (laughs), I’m watching everything! I immediately had some in my mind, but through the research I realized that there were so many I didn’t use for the movie!


Watch Just like the Movies, (2006) 21 min.