Online screening and discussion: Incident with filmmaker Bill Morrison and journalist Jamie Kalven
Incident is “a breakthrough that offers the possibility of a new form of archival cine-education about aspects of American culture that have been ‘lost’ until recently, buried within official public archives. Incident has the brevity, directness, and clarity of a Hemingway short story.” – Scott MacDonald, The Edge
Although Morrison is best known for films that excavate old, discarded footage to reveal forgotten histories and ancient, uncannily beautiful images such as Decasia (2002) and Dawson City: Frozen Time (2017), Incident is as timely and urgent as any other work of 2023. The video is just as much a work of media archaeology as any of Morrison’s previous celluloid-based efforts, with Morrison creating a compilation that examines all available footage from the “incident” of the title: on July 14, 2018, Chicago police officer Dillan Halley shot local barber Harith Augustus five times, leaving him to die in the street. Halley would claim the shooting was self-defense and received a 2-day suspension for failing to activate his body camera.
Using only audio and video taken from the scene, Morrison reconstructs the crime and its aftermath, in which rationalizations, misunderstandings, and lies quickly set in among both police officers and witnesses.
After the screening, Morrison will be in conversation with Jamie Kalven, the founder of Invisible Institute. Kalven's reporting was essential to challenging the official police narrative of Augustus’s killing, as well as to that of the killing of Laquan McDonald.
Note: Live captioning will be available. Please email [email protected] with additional accessibility requests. The discussion will be recorded and will be accessible later via Media Burn's events page and our YouTube channel.
Thursday, Nov. 9 at 6pm CT (4pm PT / 7pm ET): Free online screening/discussion of Incident with acclaimed filmmaker and media artist Bill Morrison, moderated by journalist and activist Jamie Kalven (The Invisible Institute).
Born and raised in Chicago, Bill Morrison is a filmmaker and media artist whose works have screened in theaters, museums, and concert halls around the world. His films typically source rare archival footage in which long forgotten, and sometimes deteriorated, imagery is reframed as part of a collective mythology. Decasia (2002) was the first film of the 21st century to be selected to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2017) was one of the best-reviewed films of 2017 and was named to multiple critics’ lists of the best films of the decade. His work has been recognized with the Alpert Award, Creative Capital, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Morrison’s collaborators include some of the most celebrated musicians and composers of our time, including John Adams, William Basinski, the Kronos Quartet, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Julia Wolfe, Maya Beiser, Dave Douglas, and Vijay Iyer. In 2021 Morrison became a member of the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Jamie Kalven is a writer and founder of the Invisible Institute. He is the author of Working With Available Light: A Family’s World After Violence and the editor of A Worthy Tradition: Freedom of Speech in America by his father Harry Kalven, Jr. He has reported extensively on patterns of police abuse and impunity. He was the plaintiff in Kalven v. Chicago, in which the Illinois appellate court ruled that documents bearing on allegations of police misconduct are public information. His reporting first brought the police shooting of Laquan McDonald to public attention; and he co-produced 16 Shots, an Emmy Award winning documentary on the McDonald case. His 2016 series “Code of Silence” in The Intercept exposed the criminal activities of a team of corrupt Chicago officers operating in public housing and has contributed to the exonerations of 183 individuals. Among the national awards he has received are the 2015 George Polk Award for Local Reporting, the 2016 Ridenhour Courage Prize, the 2017 Hillman Prize for Web Journalism, and the I. F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence. The Invisible Institute received the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.