Sep 9, 2016 at 8:30 pm
Pilots in Pajamas
Presented with Travis Wilkerson.
This screening will be the first significant US presentation of portions of Pilots In Pajamas, a long filmed conversation between Walter Heynowski and US Prisoners of War in Vietnam in 1968. From East German team Studio H & S— whose works are as forbidden as any in the whole of US documentary discourse, Pilots in Pajamas uses its interviews with US pilots and prisoners of war in North Vietnam’s “Hanoi Hilton,” to present a deeply critical perspective on US Imperialism in this unflinching four-part five-hour documentary mini-series.
The conversation that unfurls is the most direct ever of bomber pilots discussing what led them to war on film. The subjects are literal prisoners, altering discourse and raising profound ethical concerns. Through dramaturgy, setting, and power relations, the discussions unfold to amplify their alienation into a document unique in cinema. We will be screening a program of work including portions of Pilots in Pajamas with Filmmaker Travis Wilkerson who has spent extensive time researching and writing around this series. He will be present for discussion following the film.
“Pilots in Pajamas” Part 1 “Yes, Sir.” Walter Heynowski and Gerhard Scheumann, GDR, 1968, 70 minutes
“400 CM ²,” Heynowski and Scheumann, GDR, 6 minutes, 1968
“100,” Heynowski and Scheumann, GDR, 15 minutes, 1972
“Remington .12 Caliber” Heynowski and Scheumann, GDR, 6 minutes, 1971
“A Refugee from Vietnam,” Heynowski and Scheumann, GDR, 4 minutes, 1979
A chance meeting in Havana with legendary Cuban film propagandist Santiago Alvarez changed the course of Travis Wilkerson’s life. He now makes films in the tradition of the “third cinema,” wedding politics to form in an indivisible manner. In 2015, Sight & Sound called Wilkerson “the political conscience of American cinema.” His films have screened at scores of venues and festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Toronto, Locarno, Rotterdam, Vienna, Yamagata, the FID Marseille and the Muse?e du Louvre. His best-known work is an agit-prop essay on the lynching of Wobbly Frank Little called “An Injury to One,” named one of the best avant-garde films of the decade by Film Comment. His most recent fiction feature, “Machine Gun or Writer?” premiered at Locarno 2015 and was awarded Best International Feature at DokuFest (Kosovo). It has since screened worldwide and was recognized as one the finest films of the year on numerous lists including La Furia Umana and DesistFilm. His writings on film have appeared in Cineaste, Kino!, and Senses of Cinema. He has taught filmmaking at the University of Colorado and Film Directing at CalArts, and was the inaugural Visiting Fellow of Media Praxis in the Pomona College Media Guild. Presently, he is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Film at Vassar College. He is also the founding Editor of Now: A Journal of Urgent Praxis.
UnionDocs is proud to present the premiere of Travis Wilkerson’s latest feature film Machine Gun or Typewriter? October 21, 2016.