Jan 31, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? – Live Performance
with Travis Wilkerson
We’re thrilled to welcome Travis Wilkerson to do a “part séance, part detective story, part horror story, and 100 percent American story”(Sundance Institute) live documentary performance of Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? “In 1946, my great-grandfather murdered a black man named Bill Spann and got away with it.” So begins his latest which takes us on a journey through the American south to uncover the truth behind a horrific incident and the societal mores that allowed it to happen. Acting as a live narrator and guide, Wilkerson will be here in person to spin this strange, frightening tale that blends the personal and political poetically and impactfully. Incorporating a wide set of cultural references including scenes from To Kill a Mockingbird, the music of Janelle Monáe and Phil Ochs, and the story of Rosa Parks’ investigation into the Recy Taylor case, as well as personal family history, Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? is a gripping investigation into our collective past and its echoes into the present day.
“An urgent, often corrosive look at America’s past and present through the prism of family, patriarchy, white supremacy and black resistance.”
— Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“An extraordinary first-person documentary.”
— Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“It’s hard to experience Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? and not get shivers up your spine.”
— BIlge Ebiri, The Village Voice
“One of the strongest works at a chilling Sundance Film Festival. Wilkerson doesn’t offer an answer. But raising the question — at this moment when families are torn apart by what they believe America is and should be — is more than enough.”
“Travis Wilkerson comes from the school of cinematic self-inquiry. His latest, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?, the unequivocal highlight of this year’s True/False, takes this approach further – and to greater heights – than ever before.” — Amy Taubin, Artforum
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
90 min., 2017
This is a special event outside of our normal public programs and is not included with UNDO membership.
Members will receive 50% off tickets.
A chance meeting in Havana with legendary Cuban film propagandist Santiago Alvarez changed the course of Travis Wilkerson’s life. Over the last 20 years, he has made over 15 films, writing, shooting, editing, acting, and performing the voice-over. He makes films about history, politics, and (most recently) his family. Last year, Sight & Sound called him “the political conscience of American cinema.” He’s also published critical writings on film, several manifestos, and written and performed a play. Still, he’s best known as a filmmaker, both documentary and narrative. Despite their modest scale, his films have shown all over the world including at Sundance (4 times), Toronto (3 times), the New York Film Festival, Rotterdam, the Viennale (4 times), and around 300 others. His work has also been presented in museums including the MoMA, the Pompidou and the Louvre. His films include “Distinguished Flying Cross,” “Who Killed Cock Robin?” (Sundance Dramatic Competition) and his best known film, “An Injury to One.” Dennis Lim, writing in the Los Angeles Times in 2011, called that film a “political-cinema landmark.” Based largely on that film, Film Comment named him one of the 20 best filmmakers of the decade. In 2007, he presented the first ever performance art at the Sundance Film Festival with Proving Ground, a live multi-media rumination on the history of bombing described as “one of the most daring experiments in the history of Sundance.” His documentary “Distinguished Flying Cross,” was honored with jury prizes both at Cinema du reel (Paris) and Yamagata (Japan). He also contributed short segments to two omnibus projects: “Far From Afghanistan,” and Orbit (films). His most recent film is the punkagit-noir “Machine Gun or Typewriter?” After its 2015 premiere in Locarno at “Signs of Life,” it was awarded Best International Feature at DokuFest (Kosovo) before playing in festivals all over the world. Monica Delgado, editor of DesistFilm, named it one of the best films of the 21st Century. His work has been supported the Creative Capital Award and with grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. He has taught filmmaking at the University of Colorado and Film Directing at CalArts. He was the inaugural Visiting Fellow of Media Praxis in the Pomona College Media Guild. Presently, he is Visiting Assistant Professor of Film at Vassar College in New York and also the founding Editor of Now: A Journal of Urgent Praxis.