Works by Bill Brown &
Interstitials by Thomas Comerford
Friday, October 11th at 8pm, $7-10
Lonesome drifter of underground cinema Bill Brown will present his latest movie, Memorial Land, a documentary portrait of six people across the United States who built their own DIY 9/11 memorials. He will also screen Confederation Park, his 1999 essay about roadtripping across Canada.
In addition to the films, Bill will be reading from the just-released 15th issue of Dream Whip, his ongoing collection of stories about bike rides, bad coffee, and hard time on the Greyhound.
Bill will be joined by Chicago’s own Thomas Comerford of Kaspar Hauser fame, who will be providing musical magic throughout the evening.
MEMORIAL LAND (2012, Color/Sound, 16mm & DV, 28:14)
In the decade since the events of 9/11/2001, the United States has been engaged in a national act of memorial making. Some of these 9/11 memorials are contested sites, where conflicting visions and voices clash. But most are quiet and deeply personal. This short non-fiction film examines some of these memorials, and the reasons why six people made the unlikely decision to build them. A woman in Wisconsin hopes to franchise her homemade memorial in all 50 states. A gay priest in Kentucky dedicates a storefront church to a victim of 9/11. A man in New Jersey builds a scale model of the Twin Towers on his front lawn and decorates them with Christmas lights. None of these monument makers had lost any friends or relatives that day. All of them watched the tragedy unfold at a distance, and it is this distance that they hope to cross.
CONFEDERATION PARK (1999, Color/Sound, 16mm, 32:00)
In the voice-over to […] Confederation Park […], Texas filmmaker Bill Brown makes reference to “the secret languages of exile,” and while this reflective, even somber film presents a pastiche of places across Canada where Brown has lived, its real subject is the limits of knowledge. Its long takes are accompanied by verbal meditations on the nation’s recent history, including the separatist bombings in Quebec during the 60s, and the battle between English and French becomes a metaphor for the filmmaker’s divided mind. Brown applies stickers with city names to a huge outdoor map of Canada, his voice-over suggesting that “we’ve found our place in the universe” as a result of the “Copernican revolution”–but then the stickers are blown away by the wind. Brown implies that images are insufficient: we need to know their history, their locations, their meaning. But landscapes can’t be fully decoded, nor past events captured on film: in the final shot a woman sings, “I don’t know where he’s headin’ for,” while a car travels in a circle. –Fred Camper, Chicago Reader
Bill Brown has been making first person experimental documentaries since the mid-1990’s. His films explore the landscapes of North America, and have screened at venues around the world, including the Viennale, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, Lincoln Center, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC these days and teaches filmmaking at Duke University.
Filed under: documentary, performance, Uncategorized, video