Three Short Films by James N. Kienitz Wilkins
Director in Attendance!


 The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N. Milwaukee
Sunday, October 23, 7 pm, $7-10


The ANDRE TRILOGY by James N. Kienitz Wilkins is a collapsing treatise on media format and reality as constructed by entertainment.  Special Features is an apparent interview with three highlights. Presented as if a lo­-fi fragment from an unnamed video production, an interviewee interacts with an interviewer, recounting a special experience at once unique and shared. In TESTER, a private eye guy recounts a tricky case, set against the unedited duration of a found BetaSP tape. B-­ROLL with Andre is an anonymous and mediated testimonial about one man’s dangerous dream. The three movies were produced in sequential video formats (BetaSP, MiniDV, HD) which correspond to the timeframes of each story (prequel, original, sequel). However, when the movies are screened together, they unfold in order of production (Special Features, TESTER, B­-ROLL with Andre). The trilogy engages unreliable narrators, obvious performance modes, and outdated media formats to keep the context of the pieces slippery. Taken together they provide the familiar and satisfying suspense of a detective story, leaning into the tricks of the mystery genre: the gumshoe voice-over, hidden identity, surveillance-style footage, and vocoder vocal disguise.  Ultimately, however, Wilkins keeps both the mystery genre and the ability to solve the work at bay, offering instead a shifty palette of  conceptual tricks to ponder over, where our own modes of viewership seem to be a substantial piece of the puzzle.


Program Details:
Special Features (12 min / MiniDV-to-HD / 2014)

TESTER (30 min / BetaSP-to-HD / 2015)

B-ROLL with Andre (19 min / HD / 2015)

Preceded by:
Self-Titled (Rough Cut) by Jesse Malmed (7 min / HD / 2015)


James N. Kienitz Wilkins is a filmmaker and artist based in Brooklyn. He directed the experimental documentary feature, P ublic Hearing (2012), which premiered in the New:Vision competition at CPH:DOX 2012, and went on to festivals and venues worldwide, including MoMA PS1 (EXPO 1: NEW YORK). He is an NEA MacDowell Fellow and a graduate of the Cooper Union School of Art. He is the 2016 recipient of the LICHTER Art Award from the LICHTER Filmfest Frankfurt International.

Jesse Malmed is an artist and curator living and working in Chicago. His work in moving images, performance, text and occasional objects has exhibited widely in museums, cinemas, galleries, bars and barns. He is the curator of the Live to Tape Artist Television Festival, co-director of the mobile exhibition space and artist bumper sticker project Trunk Show, a programmer at the Nightingale Cinema, instigates Western Pole and curates exhibitions, screenings and performance events both independently and institutionally. His writing has appeared on and in Bad at Sports, Cine-File, Incite Journal of Experimental Media, The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature, Temporary Art Review, Big Big Wednesday and YA5. A native of Santa Fe, he earned his BA from Bard College and his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Programmed by Christy LeMaster

Filed under: artist in attendance, documentary, experimental, found footage, narrative, performance, surveillance, Uncategorized, video


A Supplement to Rules, Tools and Fools

The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N. Milwaukee
Sunday, September 18th, 8 pm, $7-10

A selection of shorts surrounding not just the the how-to but to-how. Bearing fully in mind the notion of utopia as a no-place, Difficult but Possible animates the notion of a diffuse set of not-yet-places, of worlds unbuilt, of worlds unbuilding, of the crazy-eyed mirage we keep moving toward. Together, we explore terrains fantastical, domestic, speculative and utopian; we learn to dodge the camera all around us and to stare deeply into and through others; we receive allegories from beyond underground weather and beyond Drop City, venture into cited non-sites and pick up some skills along the way.

Co-presented by Spudnik Press, in conjunction with Rules, Tools and Fools,
curated by Jaclyn Jacunski and Jason Pallas;
made possible through the generosity of the Chicago Film Archives,
and the sense of possibility and adventure of the artists

Programmed by Jesse Malmed


Mike Lopez | Whole Earth Land | 2016 | 10 minutes  | Playthrough Performance

Gene Bernofsky | 1993 | 1980 | 9 minutes | 16mm to Video | Sound

JoAnn Elam | The Last Whole Earth Catalog | 1967-1990 | 20 minutes | 8mm to Video | Silent

Jillian Mayer | Makeup Tutorial – How to Hide from Cameras | 2013 | 3.5 minutes | Video | Sound

Sam Green | Clear Glasses | 2008 | 4 minutes | Video | Sound

Jennifer Proctor | Alternative Forms of Energy | 2005 | 5 minutes | Super 8 to Video | Sound

Ben Russell | Trypps 7 (Badlands) | 2010 | 10 minutes | S16mm to Video | Sound


Filed under: archival, documentary, environmental, essay, experimental, feminism, geography, hand-processing, history, landscape, lecture, new media, performance, social justice, surveillance, video

The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

Preview Screening and Discussion
with Director Brett Story
Co-presented by Gallery 400


Run of Life Experimental Documentary Series
Wednesday, June 8, Free
6 pm- Exhibition Viewing / 7 pm- Screening
Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria, Chicago, IL 60607

Inspired by “our duty to fight”, Gallery 400 and Run of Life are pleased to present Brett Story’s astute and affecting documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016, HD file, 87 min). A longtime prison activist, Story uses a strong structural device to make visible the many sprawling effects of the contemporary American prison system. From the construction of pocket-parks in Los Angeles designed to keep sex offenders out of the neighborhood to a New York City warehouse that specializes in helping families provide care packages to prisoners, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes deftly eschews the romanticized themes of forgiveness traditional to prison documentaries in exchange for the more consequential web of systemic forces buttressing mass incarceration. Story also employs a wide range of documentary tactics; the connections to the prison institution are clearly laid out in some sections of the doc, while others leave more open space for the viewer to build the relationships themselves, a tactic that encourages further interaction with the central ideas of the movie long after the screening has ended. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is an important movie and possibly represents a new and sophisticated mode of social justice documentary making.

“It’s not this, that or “a” prison she’s looking for, it’s “The Prison” as institution and idea, American style. Her idea about that idea is clever, damning, and convincing: that to best understand the culture of incarceration in 2016 isn’t to film inside but rather outside of correctional facilities, where America’s prison industrial complex affects innumerable and fundamentally vital aspects of life—from laws and economies to the ways we treat and understand one another.” -Eric Hynes, Film Comment

Brett Story is a writer and independent non-fiction filmmaker based out of Toronto and New York. Her first feature-length documentary, the award-winning Land of Destiny (2010), screened internationally and was broadcast on both Canadian and American television. Her journalism and film criticism have appeared in such outlets as CBC Radio, The Nation Magazine, and Antipode. She was the recipient of the Documentary Organization of Canada Institute’s 2014 New Visions Award and was a nominee for the 2015 Ontario Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. Brett holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, Brett’s second feature-length documentary, is currently screening at festivals internationally. 

Gallery 400‘s current exhibition, our duty to fight will be on view preceding the screening. Organized by Black Lives Matter Chicago, our duty to fight offers a living testament to the specific and shared struggles that have been at the core of radical, visionary world-making in Chicago organizing. The exhibition invites visitors to join the struggle against state repression and terror while working to build collective power.

Run of Life is a collectively curated experimental documentary and expanded media series held at the Nightingale Cinema and/or other venues roughly once a month. The series pairs a recent feature experimental documentary with a short nonfiction work in any number of mediums – performance, video short, interactive presentation, audio doc, etc. At each event, a post screening Q&A will be moderated by either a local expert engaged in the movie’s subject matter or an artist involved in the making of the work. RUN OF LIFE seeks to join experimental and documentary media audiences while exploring emerging tactics within representations of reality; the empathetic connection that is built through sensory experience rather than factual arguments; and aesthetic shifts in documentary that come with the breakdown of the fourth wall.  RUN OF LIFE is programmed by Jillian Hansen-Lewis, Yana Kunichoff, Christy LeMaster  & Beckie Stocchetti.

Filed under: archival, artist in attendance, documentary, experimental, social justice, surveillance, Uncategorized, video

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