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Feb 4, 2024 at 7:30 pm

Still Film

With James N. Kienitz Wilkins & Jess Barbagallo

Doors 7:30p
Program 8:00p

352 Onderdonk Ave
Ridgewood, NY

We enthusiastically invite you to one of our favorite films from last year, Still Film, and are so happy to bring James N. Kienitz Wilkins back to UNDO for his first screening with us in the Ridgewood garage for this latest feature.

Hailed as a “stunning, acute critique of the regressive artistic sensibilities that plague contemporary Hollywood” in the New York Times, you don’t want to miss this formally defiant film – one we have felt lucky to engage some of its theoretical and critical underpinnings in our UNDO fellowship with his research around topics, techniques and the value of appropriation in documentary with his fellow pair, writer Matthew Shen Goodman (The Baffler).

Sierra Pettengill sums up our feelings perfectly in her coverage in Screenslate:

A James N. Kienitz Wilkins film is always a deeply funny and fully humanistic reflection of the world as it unfolds in real time, and what it means to try to process that world through the tools of film- and videomaking. His work tackles bigger questions of selfhood, truth, and identity, but also drills into the material specifics of moving-image circulation, often returning to the predominance of DCP, the proprietary digital cinema package on which cinematic projection today relies (Indefinite Pitch, 2016, and Common Carrier, 2017). We are lucky that he works so consistently and prolifically, breaking down the falsehoods and afterimages of both documentary and fiction film, examining and interrogating each and every cog of the so-called “empathy machine” as it changes from year to year.

We’re excited to be continuing to support his idiosyncratic style of filmmaking, and encourage folks to come through for this completely entertaining, infectious and surprising film.

Come through!


Still Film by James N. Kienitz Wilkins

72 min, 4K, 3:2, Color, Stereo, English, USA

The basis of Still Film is a fictional audio deposition of a “non-party witness” who testifies to the past forty years of cinematic exposure (a period aligned with my lifetime), with promises made and broken. The multi-generational characters include the witness, the lawyers, and the recordist. While no character is specifically me, all are performed in voiceover by me, addressing memories, biographical details, conspiracy theories, and ideas I’ve wrestled with for years. The script has been written as if an actual legal deposition.

The visuals are 35mm publicity stills from Hollywood movie press kits: a “carousel” of 140 slides chosen from the hundreds I’ve collected since 2019 that hold some associative meaning, however arbitrary, in my memory. Publicity stills are distributed by film studios to promote upcoming releases. 35mm film transparency slides were the standard until the early 2000s, when digital press kits took over (a turning point that happens to align with my legal coming-of-age). As objects, each are unique photographic prints subject to the ravages of time and handling, now preserved through scanning into 4K digital cinema.

Program Duration: 72 mins

Watch the conversation between Presenter1, Presenter2 and Presenter 3 on the UnionDocs’ Membership hub.


James N. Kienitz Wilkins is a filmmaker and artist. His films and videos have screened widely at international film festivals and arts venues including Berlin, Toronto, New York, Locarno, Rotterdam, CPH:DOX, Film at Lincoln Center, BAM, MoMA, Tate Modern, 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).

Jess Barbagallo is an actor, arts writer, theater practitioner, playwright and teacher. Currently appearing on Broadway in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Jess has been acting professionally for almost fifteen years in New York City. He has toured internationally and domestically with experimental theatre companies: Half Straddle (founding member), Big Dance Theater, Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, and The Builders Association. Jess has performed in large-scale performance works by multidisciplinary artist Andrea Geyer: Time Tenderness at the Whitney Museum of Art and Comrades of Time at the Whitney and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Most recently he toured Europe with Tania Bruguera’s production of Endgame. Jess’s writing has been published in Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, BOMB Magazine and by 53rd State Press, where Jess also functions as a copyeditor and consultant. He has presented plays and performance texts at Dixon Place, Performance Space New York, and The New Ohio Theatre.

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Feb 4, 2024
7:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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