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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

director: Travis Wilkerson
original title: Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
country: United States
year: 2017
running time: 90 min.

synopsis

In 1946, S.E. Branch clearly shot Bill Spann, a black man, in Alabama. One story of many, it can be said, but this time it’s being unraveled by the great-nephew of the murderer through this political and aesthetically distinctive film essay. During the investigation, he constantly ran in to obstacles, due not only to the prevailing racism, but also the inevitable reflection of his own connection with history. A montage of black and white memories of places, endless drives through red sunsets, and agitating tunes brings the work together in the best southern Gothic tradition, in which “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (W. Faulkner)

„This time I offered my love and my labor to a film that I wished somehow to be corrective. A film about the worst of my family.” T. Wilkerson

biography

Travis Wilkerson (1969) is an American independent director, producer, and performance artist. In his work, inspired by the Cuban avant-garde documentary filmmaker Santiago Alvarez, he combines maximalist aesthetics with political radicalism. His film Machine Gun or Typewriter? (2015), a refined agit-prop noir, was screened two years ago at Ji.hlava.

more about film

director: Travis Wilkerson
producer: Travis Wilkerson
photography: Travis Wilkerson
editing: Travis Wilkerson
music: Travis Wilkerson
sound: Travis Wilkerson

other films in the section

Barbaric Land
Every era has its fascism. A film necessary for us at this time, over fascism and colonialism … With their 'Analythica Cameral' authors returned to rummage in privates and anonymous archives of Ethiopia over the film frames of the Italian colonial period ('35-36). The Colonial eroticism. The naked body of women and the 'body' of the film. Images of the Duce in Africa. Body frames of Mussolini and the 'mass' 1945, after the Liberation.

Barbaric Land

Yervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi
France / 2013 / 65 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
Acts and Intermissions
This experimental documentary essay about American anarchist and political activist Emma Goldman (1869–1940), known as the “most dangerous living woman” of her time, is the second part of her directorial trilogy about women and ideology, in which she poses the fundamental question: what do women have to give up in order to more than “just women”? The filmmaker presents a rich collage of archival footage, reconstructed scenes, and observed moments from the present with the goal of exploring the resurgence of protests in the 21st century. Over several timelines, we see fragments of Goldman’s diary entries intertwined with moments from her life and prophetic speeches. “The 2nd in my explores Emma Goldman & Anarchism in a series of non-hierarchical fragmented ‘memory’ chapters. Each part asks what we give up to be more than merely female?” A. Child

Acts and Intermissions

Abigail Child
United States / 2017 / 57 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
The Uprising
Consisting of amateur video footage of the Arab Spring uploaded onto YouTube, this documentary presents seven days of the uprising, captured from the inside. Blurry but unfiltered images of protestors, brutal police crackdowns, and destroyed cities show that the best way to understand chaos is to be a part of it. When the cameraman asks a man standing on the street to describe the events of recent days, he answers, “This is the real Egypt. Before, we were living somewhere else. We are all pilgrims, emigrants, exiles.”

The Uprising

Peter Snowdon
Belgium, United Kingdom / 2013 / 78 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Passion - Between Revolt and Resignation
Deeply personal and openly political, this documentary chronicles the life of activist Christian Labhart who was framed by Bach's oratorio of Matthew's Passion. The film presents a bitter testimony of the futile waiting for major social change, as well as the personified history of anti-establishment activism. A monologue recapitulating the director's life since 1968 across major historical events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 9/11 attacks has been interwoven with quotes from left-wing thinkers from Bertolt Brecht to Slavoj Žižek. Newly shot footage illustrates how their warning theses are gradually being fulfilled in a contemporary public space.Fifty years ago I began to fight for a better world. Now I switch between revolt and resignation. With these feelings I began a cinematic trip through the jungle of today’s capitalism. Ch. Labhart
personal program

Passion - Between Revolt and Resignation

Christian Labhart
Switzerland / 2019 / 80 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
You Can Just Learn It
On their path to economic prosperity, Singaporeans have had to give up certain traditions and even their own particular Chinese dialect. Today, the youth of Singapore travel around the word speaking standard Chinese and English and, in general, taking advantage of all the benefits that globalisation has brought. At the same time, within their grandparents’ generation the continuity of previous eras continues to linger on. The film’s director goes against time and current trends when she asks her grandmother to teach her how to prepare a traditional dish – chicken and rice. In this minimalist documentary, which is filmed primarily in the kitchen, we inadvertently also find out many details of Singapore’s cultural history.DETAIL:“Why do you think this way?” “Because I am about to die, and I don’t have interest in anything. It’s true, I don’t have interest in anything. When there is no more strength in my heart, I stop caring about much.”

You Can Just Learn It

Abigail Han
Singapore, United States / 2015 / 29 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Water to Tabato
In mid-summer 2011, Paulo Carneiro and set out as assistant director for a film crew working on a project on the west African coast. There he unexpectedly ended up shooting his own film, a documentary report about a sinking ship near the coast of Guinea-Bissau on which he was a passenger. The digital camera records the growing panic on the ship after it has gotten stuck in the ocean in an oppressive nighttime atmosphere. In shaky interview footage, we see passengers move from an initial apathy to nervous anxiety, and from there fluidly to a fear for their lives. The growing tension on board is reflected in the film’s ever quickening tempo.DETAIL:Call somebody to pick up us. Please take us out of there. - What’s goin’ on? - Please take us out of here. - There’s nobody there that can save us. We are all passengers.

Water to Tabato

Paulo Carneiro
Guinea-Bissau, Portugal / 2014 / 45 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
The Road Back
The Road Back is a documentary journey to a time and place that have long been considered lost. The main character tries to find a lost village near a former international railway line where his recently deceased mother spent her youth. The past merges with the present as the filmmaker mixes archival films and close-ups of nature with old photographs. In fact, this blending of two media with different relationships to time forms the basis for discovering not only the relicts of the past that lie hidden beneath layers of contemporary phenomena, but also the unstoppable flow of seemingly unchanging time.“The Road Back incorporates the characteristics of home videos in narrative schemes. In the hope to create a personified and intimate film, based on the directness of home video.”

The Road Back

Wouters Maurits
Belgium / 2016 / 31 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Night's Drifters
Afghan immigrants Sobhan and Hamid fall asleep together underneath a bridge in the big city. Their difficult months-long journey from home has not been rewarded by a better life, but has been shattered by fears of the coming day. They live outside of time, hope extinguished in the French suburbs. Afghan defiance and enthusiasm are fractured within blurry images from mobile telephones and in endless dark nights spent by a makeshift fire. The fate of young immigrants, seen from a distance, offers a topical picture of more than one Middle Eastern country.  

Night's Drifters

Bijan Anquetil
France / 2012 / 45 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
Fonja
Ten juvenile delinquents from the largest detention institution in Madagascar have joined a four-month workshop to learn working with a film camera, editing, creating simple cinematic tricks, and telling their own stories. The camera became a tool for them to grasp the new reality, allowing them to express themselves freely despite the isolation they live in. The film presents a sincere testimony about life in a strictly hierarchical, closed community as perceived by the young film-makers who were given the opportunity not only to discover and develop their creative potential, but also make new friends. “I want to reach out and spread the great spirit and creativity of this strong group, the emerging young filmmakers of the Antanimora prison in Madagascar, to inspire and create wonder amongst others.” L. Zacher
personal program

Fonja

Ravo Henintsoa Andrianatoandro, Lovatiana Desire Santatra, Sitraka Hermann Ramanamokatra, Jean Chrisostome Rakotondrabe, Erick Edwin Andrianamelona, Elani Eric Rakotondrasoa, Todisoa Niaina Sylvano Randrialalaina, Sitrakaniaina Raharisoa, Adriano Raharison Nantenaina, Alpha Adrimamy Fenotoky, Lina Zacher
Madagascar, Germany / 2019 / 80 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Thawathosamat
This nearly four-hour film encyclopaedia takes us on a tour of Thailand’s many religions, including various forms of animism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Footage is limited to images of rituals, all without commentary and accompanied only with information on the location and the text of short excerpts from the prayers.In the immense length of the film, the individuality of each ritual dissolves into a flow of colours, lights, shouts, dance, song, music, voices and exploding firecrackers. It is an encyclopaedia that does not emphasize differences but blurs them.

Thawathosamat

Punlop Horharin
Thailand / 2012 / 170 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
14 Homicides
The state of Utah has very broad definitions of when a police officer can use a weapon on duty. Last year, 14 controversial deaths were caused by the police. This documentary, based on traditional film structure, is made up of 14 two-minute static shots of the crime scenes. The soundtrack consists of recited texts made up of interrogation reports and the responses of people close to the victims. The objective communication sharply contrasts with the tragic incidents. The fixed camera view becomes a sad reminder of a fatal incident which paradoxically most authorities consider to be justified.DETAIL:An attorney for the Hunt family says they don't believe Darian attacked officers with the toy sword. He also stated that he was a harmless and innocent young man who was drawn into an incident provoked by the police.

14 Homicides

Jona Gerlach
United States / 2015 / 34 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Ex Press
A passenger train travels across the landscape of the Philippines, while a monologue description of the journey presents fragments of memory and fantasy that look back at the country’s past. This graduate film by debuting filmmaker Jet Leyco is not based on a fixed script, but was made intuitively and spontaneously on location. Documentary approaches are mixed with stages elements in order to create a hypnotic mixture at whose centre lies the search for the unexplained resignation of the police officers defending the train against vandals.

Ex Press

Jet Leyco
Philippines / 2011 / 90 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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