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Sat, Jun 11


The Backlot Cinema

MAKE A DISTINCTION: New Non-Fiction w/ Director's Q&A

If you can’t name the enemy do you become it? A debut hybrid non-fiction feature, Make a Distinction (2021) maps unseen forces of US imperialism through ostensibly disconnected aspects of daily life. Tonight's screening program begins with Kelly Gallagher's new film: We Had Each Other (2021).

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MAKE A DISTINCTION: New Non-Fiction w/ Director's Q&A
MAKE A DISTINCTION: New Non-Fiction w/ Director's Q&A

Time & Location

Jun 11, 2022, 8:30 PM – 10:30 PM EDT

The Backlot Cinema, 190 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301, USA

About the event

Make a Distinction (2021) 

16mm film transferred to digital video, color, sound, 62 min, Directed by Kera MacKenzie & Andrew Mausert-Mooney. A family rests in the shade of a C-47 warcraft. An army installation contains the last remnants of an endangered grassland ecology. Young filmmakers hone their skills making cop shows on Chicago streets. A debut hybrid non-fiction feature, Make a Distinction maps unseen forces of US imperialism through ostensibly disconnected aspects of daily life. If you can’t name the enemy do you become it? The filmmakers will lead a Q&A after the film.

"Make a Distinction explores American landscapes and unearths the imperial undertones embedded in them. Through a lens that fuses ecological concerns with questions about state power and the structures that keep the scales unbalanced, Make a Distinction offers us an important example of how experimental documentary practices can create bridges across seemingly disparate conceptual terrains."-UnionDocs

Opening the evening will be We Had Each Other (2021), Kelly Gallagher's new film about the no-wash protests among IRA women captives (Digital USA/ Ireland, 15 minutes). 

Filmmaker Bios: 

Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney are Chicago-based anti-imperialist artists working primarily in film, video, live broadcast, and installation. Their works have screened and exhibited at venues including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the American Film Institute, Anthology Film Archives, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, UnionDocs, and Chicago Underground Film Festival.  Filmmaker Interview with Bad At Sports about the project. 

Kelly Gallagher is a filmmaker, animator, and Assistant Professor of Film at Syracuse University. Her award-winning films and commissioned animations have screened internationally at venues including: the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, Sundance Film Festival, the Smithsonian Institution, Anthology Film Archives, and International Film Festival Rotterdam. Her most recent animations have also screened on Netflix and PBS. She’s presented solo programs of her work at institutions including: SFMOMA, Close-Up Cinema London, SF Cinematheque, and Wexner Center for the Arts. Kelly enthusiastically organizes and facilitates fun and inclusive film workshops, camps, and masterclasses for communities and groups of all ages, from Kentucky to California, from New York to Iowa and beyond.

Critical Acclaim: 

"One could say the same about MacKenzie and Mausert-Mooney’s MAKE A DISTINCTION, a bold step into the feature form by the Chicago-based duo, making its world premiere at Onion City. Made over four (shall we say, fraught) years, the film seems to narrate the course of its own development, from exploratory survey to statement of purpose: if you’re wondering where it’s going at the start, you’ll know exactly where you stand at the end. (Spoiler alert: stolen land.) Not that things are all that vague at the jump: an electric opening montage featuring clips of Kwame Ture and Fred Hampton signals the general direction. But the following scenes, cruising the communities surrounding Kentucky’s Fort Campbell Army Base and glimpsing the travesties inflicted on the American environment by capitalism and militarism, suggest filmmakers seeking refuge in pockets of untrammeled nature—and in a familiar idiom of landscape essay film. This impression is deceptive: halfway through, the film changes course dramatically, turning its focus towards Chicago and adopting a tone of forceful and incisive analysis. Defiantly casting their 16mm camera lens on the many Dick Wolf television productions shooting around the city, the filmmakers unpack incestuous relationships linking the dramatized copaganda of shows like Chicago PD, the corrupt developers behind the Cinespace Chicago studio, and the actual CPD forces who have brutalized city residents with impunity for decades. With damning precision, MacKenzie and Mausert-Mooney lay out on-screen texts and primary documents, arguing implicitly for formal, economic, and political alternatives to the commercial film industry’s hegemony…before changing stylistic gears yet again. These shifts are abrupt, but the film’s own internal polymorphism—the confidence with which it swerves from landscape to essay film to insurrectionary botany lesson (?!)—helps us imagine what such a radical film practice might look like. The electrifying Dick Wolf sequence divides the film, much as the opening’s Fred Hampton quotation divides the people from the pigs. But MacKenzie and Mausert-Mooney don’t just ask us to pick a side, they show us how. By returning, with lucid self-awareness and burning urgency, to landscapes, figures, techniques, and themes from its first half, MAKE A DISTINCTION demonstrates how historical consciousness can orient diverse experimental tactics towards a unitary, emancipatory purpose. In other words, it’s an object lesson in political filmmaking." — Michael Metzger, CINE-FILE


  • Admission to Backlot Cinema!

    The Backlot Cinema Presents: 2 New Non-Fiction Films: Make a Distinction, and We Had Each Other. In case of rain the screening will be moved indoors. Ticket for one person- includes entry into the Raffle! Please choose your seating with respect for others and let us know if you require special arrangements. Enjoy the program!

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