For this year’s 20th anniversary of RIDM, the Montreal International Documentary Film Festival teamed up with Visions, the city’s experimental documentary film series, for a truly cutting edge retrospective titled “James N. Kienitz Wilkins: Vessels/Containers.” Wilkins, a 25 New Face” of 2016, was honored with four programs containing seven of his works, created from 2012 through 2017. This includes 2012’s nearly two hour Public Hearing, a 16mm, B&W-filmed performance of the transcript from a town hall debate about replacing a Walmart with a Super Walmart, all the way to 2017’s 38-minute Mediums, a medium-length movie made up entirely of medium shots in which actors play potential jurors passing the time outside a courthouse (using actual words from material such as a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise contract and a Volkswagen car manual. This might be my favorite Wilkins work).
So it was with great pleasure that I was able to catch up with Wilkins once again to discuss his delightfully unorthodox approach to the documentary form.
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