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Sep 9, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Artistic Differences: It Has to Feel Real

This screening program 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, 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. We are so thankful to Hamilton College for supporting this program!

“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?

If you like what you see and hear at the film program and are excited to dig deeper, register for the STUDY GROUP SESSION and the DIALOGUE to unpack this work together with James N. Kienitz Wilkins and artist and writer Morgan Quaintance. This program will screen at Open City Documentary Festival and be available for Study Group participants online. Space is limited. Sign up today!

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).

Presented With


Sep 9, 2022
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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