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Public Hearing

Directed and Produced by James N. Kienitz Wilkins

110 min / 16mm-to-HD / English / USA / 2012

Public Hearing

Public Hearing re-performs a rural American town meeting from a transcript downloaded as publicly available information. Shot entirely in cinematic close-up on black-and-white 16mm film, an ensemble cast read between the lines in an ironic debate over the replacement of an existing Wal-Mart with a super Wal-Mart

Read an interview with James N. Kienitz Wilkins in BOMB

Read Film, Objects, Publics essay by Brook Henkel [.pdf]

Read a transcription of the introduction delivered by Mikkel Krause Frantzen at the film's premiere screening in Copenhagen City Hall [.pdf]

Watch Public Hearing

Public Hearing is available as video-on-demand at Doc Alliance Films

Stream or download at


“This brilliantly conceived satire adapts, literally, a mundane transcript from a civic hearing ... somehow infusing the proceedings with a Mamet-like terseness.” - INDIEWIRE

“... A play about itself ... shows how much people are willing to endure to pretend that a democratic process exists in opposition to corporate manifest destiny.” - BROOKLYN RAIL

“Public Hearing is a thought provoking x-ray of community democracy as ritualist incantation.” - POLITEKEN.DK

“... F**king amazing ... America can be so cruel sometimes.” - THE STRANGER

"... a case study in neither-fish-nor-fowl filmmaking." - ARTFORUM

Public Hearing in Progress on ACRE TV

From February 1 - March 21, 2015, the artist-made livestreaming network, ACRE TV, broadcast 106 hours of the entire production of Public Hearing (recorded via security camera on VHS) "live" as part of the thematic online show, Direct Object/Direct Action

Read more here

Film Festivals & Screenings

A4 ZERO SPACE, Slovakia

The Nightingale, Chicago

VISIONS, Montreal

UnionDocs, Brooklyn

ReFocus, Toronto

Jhilava International Documentary Festival, Czech Republic

Festival do Rio, Brazil

Camden International Documentary Festival, Maine

Northwest Film Forum, Seattle

Lima Independiente, Peru [WINNER: ACTIVISM AWARD]


MoMA PS1 - EXPO1 1: NEW YORK, New York

IndieLisboa, Portugal

Punto de Vista, Spain



An Automatic Moving Co. production

Directed and produced by James N. Kienitz Wilkins
Camera by Dan Fridman
Music by Eugene Wasserman
Assistant direction by D.C. Hagerman
Assistant camera by William Lehman, Daniel Cada
Sound design by Josh Allen
Map animation and subtitles by Ben Hemmendinger
Sound and on-set motion graphics by Harold Batista
Grading by Lee Eaton

Full cast here

Supported in Part by

Jerome Foundation
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
Foundation for Contemporary Arts (Emergency Grants Program)
New York State Council on the Arts
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Inc.
Puffin Foundation
Wave Farm

The projects on this website are made possible with funds from the Media Arts Assistance Fund, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, Electronic Media and Film, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; administered by Wave Farm

All video and text copyright © 2015 James N. Kienitz Wilkins & The Automatic Moving Co.