Revisiting the Classics: Still Film

  • Thursday, January 18, 2024 / 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM (PST)
  • Pollock Theater
  • Screening Format: Sony 4K Digital Projection (72 Minutes)
  • With James N. Kienitz Wilkins (filmmaker)

Still Film, the latest from experimental filmmaker James N. Kienitz Wilkins, unfolds as a unique exploration of cinematic detritus and a sharp critique of Hollywood filmmaking. Presented in the form of a staged deposition involving four unseen characters, the film is composed entirely of 35mm press kit photos spanning decades of Hollywood films from big-budget action blockbusters to family comedies. Wilkins, acting as the voice for the characters, orchestrates a playful trial of the moving image, exploring the effects of cinephilia and warning of the regressive artistic sensibilities that plague contemporary Hollywood and its reliance on intellectual property and unquestioned nostalgia.

Still Film is a New York Times Critics Pick. Robert Daniels writes, “Wilkins demands that we make new cinematic memories, lest we lose ourselves.”

In this event, filmmaker James N. Kienitz Wilkins will join moderator Tyler Morgenstern (Assistant Director, Carsey-Wolf Center) for a post-screening discussion of Still Film. Update (1/18): due to extenuating circumstances related to extreme weather, James Wilkins will be unable to join us in person. The post-screening discussion will instead be presented live via Zoom in the Pollock Theater.

Biographies

This is a headshot of filmmaker James N. Kienitz Wilkins. The image depicts a man in a graphic button-up, short sleeve shirt. He leans against an object that is out of frame, and he is smiling and posed in front of a blurry city backdrop.

Filmmaker James N. Kienitz Wilkins

James N. Kienitz Wilkins is a filmmaker and artist based in New York. His work has screened widely at international film festivals and arts venues, including Berlinale, Locarno, Rotterdam, Toronto, BAMCinemaFest, New York Film Festival, the Tate Modern, and MoMA PS1. In 2016, he received the Kazuko Trust Award presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. In 2017, he participated in the Whitney Biennial and had a retrospective at RIDM (Montreal). In 2018, he presented his first solo show at Gasworks Gallery (London), and was included in the Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement (Genève). Select movies include Public Hearing (CPH:DOX ‘12), Special Features (NYFF ‘15) Indefinite Pitch (Locarno ‘16), Common Carrier (CPH:DOX ‘17), This Action Lies (Rotterdam ‘19), and The Plagiarists (Berlinale ‘19).

Headshot of Tyler Morgenstern. The black and white image depicts a man wearing a scarf and floral button-up long sleeve shirt. He is smiling and posed in front of a nature background which features a pond, large trees and mountains.

Moderator Tyler Morgenstern

Tyler Morgenstern is Assistant Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center and an alumnus of the UCSB Film and Media Studies PhD program. As a scholar, his research and teaching interests primarily concerned the media and technological cultures of empire and settler colonialism. He completed his dissertation, Colonial Recursion and Decolonial Maneuver in the Cybernetic Diaspora in 2021, and has published in journals including International Journal of Communication, Media+Environment, and Synoptique. With Krista Lynes and Ian Alan Paul, he is also co-editor of Moving Images: Mediating Migration as Crisis (Transcript Verlag, 2020).

 This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center.

Revisiting the Classics

What happens when a film becomes a “classic”? The Carsey-Wolf Center’s 2023-24 feature series Revisiting the Classics engages creatively and critically with our filmic past, approaching it with fresh eyes and novel interpretive lenses. Not simply a celebration of the “great works,” Revisiting the Classics will consider how classic texts have shaped the work of contemporary filmmakers, how complicated questions of politics and aesthetics emerge through practices of adaptation and interpretation, and how the changing landscape of film distribution, archiving, preservation, and critique affects the formation of canon and the making of new “classics.”