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Feb 9, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Justifiable Paranoia: National Bird & Aaron Brown

Discussion on surveillance and the security state following the program with director Sonia Kennebeck and Curtis Wallen

We welcome Curtis Wallen and Sonia Kennebeck for an evening of JUSTIFIABLE PARANOIA for this month’s iteration of the BK@24fps series with Skylight Pictures. Wallen will describe his Aaron Brown project, reflecting on identity protection on the internet, before we screen Kennebeck’s latest feature. Deemed “elegantly unsettling” by The New York Times, National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: The secret U.S. drone war. From Executive Producers Wim Wenders, and Errol Morris, the images in this film haunt the audience and bring a faraway issue close to home. Discussion with Wallen and Kennebeck will follow, moderated by Melvin Estrella.


Aaron Brown: on creating an identity on the deep web

15 min., mixed media

Curtis Wallen will give a short presentation on creating an identity on the deep web.

National Bird

92 min., 2016

National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: The secret U.S. drone war.

At the center of the film are three U.S. military veterans. Tortured by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences.

Their stories take dramatic turns, leading one of the protagonists to Afghanistan where she learns about a horrendous incident. But her journey also gives hope for peace and redemption.

National Bird gives rare insight into the U.S. drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors, connecting their stories as never seen before in a documentary. Its images haunt the audience and bring a faraway issue close to home.

92 min


Sonia Kennebeck is an independent documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist with more than 15 years of directing and producing experience. She has directed eight television documentaries and more than 50 investigative reports. Most recently, she completed her first feature-length documentary, National Bird, a film about the U.S. drone war which was executive produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris and premiered in the prestigious Specials Section of the Berlin Film Festival 2016 and was also selected for Tribeca, Sheffield and IDFA, among many other festivals. National Bird will open in theaters in the U.S. and Europe in November and will be broadcast on PBS in spring 2017. Filmmaker Magazine selected Sonia Kennebeck as one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2016. Sonia Kennebeck received a Master’s degree in International Affairs from American University in Washington, D.C. She was born in Malacca, Malaysia and lives in New York.


Curtis Wallen is an artist, writer, and researcher from Missouri, currently based in Brooklyn. His work focuses on the structures of technology, security, and power. He has appeared in The Atlantic, Wired, Fast Company, Süddeutsche Zeitung, VICE Motherboard, and the BBC. His work has been exhibited and presented internationally in New York, Los Angeles, Germany, and Switzerland. He is also the co-founder of the art gallery Motel.



Our monthly Brooklyn-based screening series highlights documentary films as a way to to expand dialogue around the intersection of human rights and art. Born out of a three-way collaboration between Skylight, UnionDocs, and WITNESS, these monthly events aim to strengthen the ties between people interested in human rights in Brooklyn and will consist of, a 10-part series of film screenings followed by a partner-moderated discussion between the filmmaker, movement actors, and the audience. During our discussions we debate the conventional framework for human rights and challenge the definition of what constitutes human rights media.

Presented With

Skylight Pictures

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Feb 9, 2017
7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Free – $10.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States

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