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Part of SFFILM Festival

The American Sector

Directed by Courtney Stephens, Pacho Velez

USA | New Visions | 70

11 Apr
Sat, Apr 11, 2020 at 8:00 pm
YBCA 701 Mission St (between 3rd and 4th Streets)
San Francisco, CA 94103 United States
12 Apr
Sun, Apr 12 at 12:30 pm
Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
15 Apr
Wed, Apr 15 at 8:30 pm
The Theater at Children's Creativity Museum


Universal Studios in Florida, a Hilton Hotel in Dallas, Museum of World Treasures in Kansas, and private homes in the Hollywood Hills are just some of the places that slabs of the Berlin wall have ended up on display. From the interstates of middle America to museums to public parks, filmmakers Courtney Stephens and Pacho Velez document the present remnants of the wall’s architecture while evoking the past with home video footage, creating a disjointed view on history, what we ascribe to it, and how easily it is scattered.

“Public art and political divisions, the sway of history, and the impulse toward freedom are inseparable elements in the doc’s richly nuanced palette … What might seem at first an inquiry into another nation’s story builds into a provocative illumination of all our histories, and of the here and now. Another wall — one that’s still more concept than reality and on many Americans’ minds — is alluded to and left to the viewer’s contemplation.” –Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

Director Courtney Stephens

Redwood City native Courtney Stephens is a documentary and experimental filmmaker who studied at the American Film Institute. Her short films include White Gloves (2011), Sweet Prospects (2012), and Mixed Signals (Festival 2019). The American Sector is her debut feature.

Director Pacho Velez

Pacho Velez studied at the California Institute for the Arts and teaches filmmaking at New York’s New School. Among his documentary features are Manakamana (Festival 2014), winner of the Golden Leopard at Locarno, and The Reagan Show (2017).

Filmmaker Profile


Film Details

Language English, German

Year 2020

Premiere North American

Runtime 70

Country USA

Director Courtney Stephens, Pacho Velez

Producer Pacho Velez

Writer Dounia Sichov, Courtney Stephens

Editor Dounia Sichov, Courtney Stephens

Cinematographer Pacho Velez

Music Sara Davachi