Date: Monday, April 14, 2014
Location: Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Details: 74 min, USA, 2013
Filmmaker(s): Sierra Pettengill, Jamila Wignot
TOWN HALL casts an unflinching eye at Katy and John, two Tea Party activists from the battleground state of Pennsylvania who believe America’s salvation lies in a return to true conservative values.In Katy, we see a political novice rocketed to media stardom after a sensational confrontation at a town hall meeting with her senator. A young stay-at-home mom turned Tea Party spokesperson, she is gifted a new identity, steeled by the voices of conservative media. For John, a retired former businessman and lifelong Republican living in one of the poorest cities in the country, the America he knows is slipping away. Heading up a local Tea Party group is his last, best chance at stanching the changes he is witnessing all around him, but unable to afford his aging mother’s health care, John has to make difficult decisions that reveal the complicated relationship between his principles and the demands of his life. More than a political treatise, TOWN HALL is a tone poem that immerses the viewer in Katy and John’s world, painting a portrait of the fears of those who believe they will be left behind by a nation’s transition.
Filmmaker Sierra Pettengill will attend in person for Q&A moderated by Erin Trahan, film journalist and editor of The Independent.
Sierra Pettengill is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. TOWN HALL is her directorial debut. She is the producer of CUTIE AND THE BOXER (U.S. Documentary Directing Award, Sundance ‘13) and the archival producer of Matt Wolf’s TEENAGE (Tribeca Film Festival ‘13). For PBS, she was the associate producer of the Emmy-nominated WALT WHITMAN, as well as the Peabody Award-winning TRIANGLE FIRE. She was also the associate producer of HBO’s WARTORN: 1861 – 2010, an in-depth look at PTSD in American veterans, and Nick Bentgen’s NORTHERN LIGHT (True/False ‘13).
Jamila Wignot is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her 2008 film WALT WHITMAN, produced for American Experience, was nominated for an Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking. She also produced THE REHNQUIST REVOLUTION, the fourth episode for WNET’s series THE SUPREME COURT, which won a 2007 Cine Golden Eagle Award and a 2008 NYf Silver Medal. The series was the 2007 IDA Limited Series winner. Her most recent film, TRIANGLE FIRE, broadcast on February 28, 2011 and received a Peabody Award.
“In…Town Hall, Sierra Pettengill and Jamila Wignot’s smart and candid bifurcated profile of two Tea Party advocates in Pennsylvania, liberal filmmakers strive to look with clear eyes at politically conservative subjects. Such commitment to inquisitiveness, to pursuing some measure of understanding, is a truly heroic impulse…”– Eric Hynes, Film Comment
In collaboration with The New York Times, The DocYard will theatrically present one Op-Doc short prior to this feature screening. Op-Docs is the editorial department’s forum for short opinion-driven documentaries, produced with wide creative latitude by independent filmmakers, featuring thoughtful and outspoken commentary on issues big and small. Since launching in November 2011, the series is approaching its 100th Op-Doc. Curated by the Op-Docs Series Producer Jason Spingarn-Koff and The DocYard programmers.