Travis Wilkerson (Denver, Colorado, 1969) made his first feature film, Accelerated Under-Development: In the Idiom of Santiago Alvarez, in 1999. This documentary, which had its premiere in 2003, is a statement of principles which shows the life and work of Santiago Álvarez, a radical Cuban filmmaker who was one of the main exponents of the Third-Cinema movement. After meeting Álvarez during the second half of the 1990s, Wilkerson’s work began moving in a clearly defined direction—assuming filmic production as a political work and redefining the legacy of Third Cinema by taking it to the epicenter of American culture.
His film Machine Gun or Typewriter (2015) premiered at the Locarno Festival and received the Best International Feature Award at the DokuFest, in Kosovo. It was also recognized as one of the best films of the year in lists such as La Furia Umana and DesistFilm. His most recent film, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (2017), is a reprocessing of a family event which happened in 1946, when Wilkerson’s great grandfather killed a black man. This event, which remained hidden by his family, led to those tensions which are inherent to a subject which is not delved into—racism. This film, which premiered at Sundance and was part of the Locarno International Competition, mixes various sources—from folk music to filmic classics—to illustrate its political discourse.
Coming from an independent dimension (he is in charge of the cinematography and edition of his films), Travis Wilkerson makes works with a deep political sense. Incendiary, confrontative, with a foot firmly in the present while also looking for answers in an often-distorted past, Wilkerson uses music as a crucial element for his aesthetics; with it, he makes his frankness—and even the harsh way in which he portrays sensitive issues—smoother. The result is an impossible-to-ignore filmic body of work.
- Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (2017)
- Machine Gun or Typewriter? (2015)
- For the 150th Anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre (2014)
- For Michael Brown (2014)
- Los Angeles Red Squad: The Communist Situation in California (2013)
- Sand Creek Equation (2012)
- Fragments of Disolution (segmento Far from Afghanistan) (2012)
- Distinguished Flying Cross (2011)
- Pluto Declaration (2011)
- Who Killed Cock Robin? (2005)
- Superior Elegy (2003)
- An Injury to One (2002)
- National Archive V.1 (2001)
- Accelerated Under-Development: In the Idiom of Santiago Alvarez (1999)