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Sep 9, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Artistic Differences: It Has to Feel Real

This conversation is a part of Artistic Differences, a UnionDocs Break ꩜ut co-presented with Open City Documentary Festival

UnionDocs is delighted to join hands with Open City Documentary Festival as a part of  ARTISTIC DIFFERENCES, a UnionDocs Break 🌀ut, co-curated with programmer Cíntia Gil, that hopes to make room for bravely sharing and responding to challenging documentary art, invites a diverse audience into a monthly series of film programs and study groups, and brings those voices to the stage of a public dialogue.

“Each party to an encounter has a profound impact upon the other and both will be changed as a result of the meeting.”
J.L. Moreno

This program, IT HAS TO FEEL REAL, staged with Open City Documentary Festival, is the second of the Break 🌀ut project and explores the psychology of the encounter, the performance of situational power, and the production of narrative as the ground where tension and resolution operate.

If Greaves’ IN THE COMPANY OF MEN attempts to observe a complex arena where hierarchy and racism in the corporate workplace might be challenged through a transformative and cathartic encounter involving role play and the dramatic articulation of the unspoken, James N. Kienitz Wilkins’ SPECIAL FEATURES and TESTER examine voice as the mechanism for the delivery of uncertain testimony (a dream, a found VHS tape), destabilizing the speech act, disrupting the production of authority and questioning the reliability of personal representation. How does Greaves enthusiastic interest in psychodrama and method-acting intersect with his early work in observational documentary? How does Wilkins tug at loose threads in the roleplay inherit in film production? What do these practices offer the imagination towards the staging of productive encounters and their recording?

We’re thrilled to present our public dialogue in London at the festival with James N. Kienitz Wilkins and artist and writer Morgan Quaintance.

Be sure to tune into the FILM PROGRAM around which this dialogue is structured. If you’d like to dig even deeper,  register for the STUDY GROUP,  and stay tuned for when we release a version of the conversation at the festival online following! Big thanks to our incredible partners at Open City Documentary Festival and co-programmer, Cíntia Gil.

This program is presented with generous support from the AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) FilmWatch program and from Hamilton College. It precedes and informs a duo of programs that will center around the new book-length collection: William Greaves Filmmaking as Mission, edited by Scott MacDonald and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, from Columbia University Press.


Special Features by James N Kienitz Wilkins

12 mins | English | USA | 2014

The first piece of the ANDRE TRILOGY, this film – or a lo-fi fragment from an unnamed video production – seems to explore the codes and roles involved in a filmed interview; a playful short-circuit between the act of reading and the act of telling, breaking continuity and crossing the boundaries of subject, story, enunciation. A man is multiple men, a lived experience is a dream, an interview is a performance, playing with our place as viewers, with our own assumptions.

Tester by James N Kienitz Wilkins

30 mins | English | USA | 2016

Built from the footage found on an old BetaSP found on a VCR recorder bought on Ebay, Tester is one of several experiments of the filmmaker with monologue and narration. In contrast with the precise and obsessive verbal construction, the film eludes control over what could constitute a center or a subject to it, and rather plays with the asymmetry between what is perceived and how meaning is shaped, and the intersection between private and public.

In the Company of Men by William Greaves

52 mins | English | USA | 1969

Produced for Newsweek, shot in an auto plant in Atlanta as a project to tackle racial friction between white managers and hardcore unemployed black workers, this was the first experiment with sociodrama in film. With the psychodrama-trained actor Walter Klavun, the film is built from moments of improvisation among managers and workers, creating a complex piece that questions both documentary form and the contradictions inherent to the corporate production of visibility and representation.


James N. Kienitz Wilkins is a filmmaker and artist. His films and videos have screened widely at international film festivals including Berlin, Toronto, New York, Locarno, Rotterdam, CPH:DOX, BAMcinemaFest, New Directors/New Films, and beyond. In 2017, he was included in the Whitney Biennial and a retrospective of his work was showcased at RIDM (Montréal). Solo exhibitions include Gasworks (London), Spike Island (Bristol, UK) and Kunsthalle Winterthur (Switzerland).

Morgan Quaintance is a London-based artist and writer. His moving image work has been shown and exhibited widely at festivals and institutions including: MOMA, New York; Mcevoy Foundaton for the Arts, San Francisco; Konsthall C, Sweden; David Dale, Glasgow; European Media Art Festival, Germany; Alchemy Film and Arts Festival, Scotland; Images Festival, Toronto; International Film Festival Rotterdam; and Third Horizon Film Festival, Miami. He is the recipient of the 2022 ARTE Award at Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg. Over the past ten years, his critically incisive writings on contemporary art, aesthetics and their socio-political contexts, have featured in publications including Art Monthly, the Wire, and the Guardian, and helped shape the landscape of discourse and debate in the UK.

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Sep 9, 2022
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
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Artistic Differences

ARTISTIC DIFFERENCES, co-programmed and produced with Cíntia Gil, is a monthly sequence online CineClub, that gathers a diverse, international audience to journey to many places and new contexts, inviting groundbreaking films, voices, ideas and visions and welcoming our differences.  The first Saturday of every month.  Join the club!