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Special Screening! EIGHTH GRADE • Wednesday 9/19 at 8:30

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Mon, May 7, 2018

The DocYard Presents (previous events)Special Events Archive

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

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Director: Travis Wilkerson

Film Details: 1 hour 10 minutes, 2017, USA, color / black & white, English

Film Website

Filmmaker Travis Wilkerson will attend in person for discussion!

“An urgent, often corrosive look at America’s past and present through the prism of family, patriarchy, white supremacy and black resistance.” — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

About the Film:

Alabama, 1946. S.E. Branch, the filmmaker’s great-grandfather, murdered Bill Spann, a black man. The murder has become hidden family lore and when Wilkerson sets out to unravel the mystery, he encounters obstacle upon obstacle, destroyed records and everyone refusing to talk. He’s accused of bringing shame upon the family, shaking up old trouble nobody wants. The ghosts are real in Alabama. This isn’t a White Savior story. It’s a White Nightmare story.

“Formally audacious and emotionally powerful: a meditation on conscience and responsibility, in the context of a documentary on race in the American South, as well as a highly personal exhumation of family secrets that may include a double murder. Travis Wilkerson begins with a scene from To Kill a Mockingbird, and introduces a “secular saint,” Atticus Finch, but reminds us that Harper Lee’s story was fiction, “whereas mine is true.” He continues: “In 1946, my great-grandfather murdered a black man named Bill Spann and got away with it.” His movie is a detective story with important roles played by the filmmaker’s aunt (a Southern secessionist), by a 31-year-old local activist named Rosa Parks, by the rap song “Hell You Talmbout” by Janelle Monáe, and by the still-resonant words of a Phil Ochs song that memorializes white activist William Moore.” – Film Forum

“It’s hard not to experience Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? and not get shivers up your spine — from fear, from anger, and from the beauty of Wilkerson’s filmmaking.”— Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice

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About The DocYard:

For decades, Boston has been a center for documentary filmmaking. It is a place where students come to learn and experiment, where some of documentary’s giants are teaching and creating new work, and where the craft is continuously nurtured and expanded. Today’s filmmakers are breaking new ground that has its foundation, more often than not, in Boston’s rich documentary legacy.

Celebrating what is innovative, interesting, and inspiring in documentary, The DocYard is a bi-weekly film and discussion series that takes place every other Monday. Their goal is to grow a vibrant, creative community for Boston’s filmmakers, film students and film lovers through each of these special events.

  • Theatrical Premiere Engagement! MADELINE'S MADELINE • September 14–20