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1 May
Sun, May 1, 2022 at 4:30 pm PT


A treasure trove of archival footage taken from US military recordings and 1960s broadcast TV forms the foundation for Sierra Pettengill’s stunning essay film, a piercing interrogation into the origins of American police militarization. Through meticulous and creative assemblage of images and sounds, it charts the machinations of the Kerner Commission, LBJ’s task force on civil disorders, and the creation of model towns used to train police and military in techniques to pacify antiwar protestors. The palpable fear of all-out domestic terrorism born of the Civil Rights Movement materializes in these eerie simulations positioning law enforcement and civilians as actors in scenes straight out of mid-20th century sci-fi/dystopian films where the true enemy is often hidden in plain sight.

Director Sierra Pettengill

Brooklyn-based Sierra Pettengill is a researcher and archivist as well as a documentary filmmaker. Her first feature was Town Hall (2013), followed by The Reagan Show (2017). Her short films include New Year Part 1 (2014), Graven Image (2017), The Business of Thought: A Recorded History of Artists Space (2020), and The Rifleman (2021). She also directed a 2020 episode of the Netflix series Trial By Media. For her role as a producer on Cutie and the Boxer (Festival 2013), she won a Best Documentary News & Documentary Emmy Award.

Film Details

Language English

Year 2022

Premiere California

Runtime 91

Country USA

Director Sierra Pettengill

Executive Producer Michael Y. Chow, Charlotte Cook, Grace Lay, Sumalee Montano, Sue Turley

Producer Sara Archambault, Jamila Wignot

Editor Nels Bangerter

Music Jace Clayton

Closed Captions Closed captions are available for both screenings. Please let us know if you would like a closed-captioning device when purchasing your ticket or by emailing ADA@SFFilm.org

Audio Description Audio description is not available for this screening.

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation is not currently scheduled for this event. For more information about ASL interpretation at our events, e-mail ADA@SFFilm.org.