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Project: Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? is a documentary murder mystery about the filmmaker’s family, set in lower Alabama, 18 miles north of the Florida state line. On an October night in 1946, S.E. Branch twice shot a man named Bill Spann in the small neighborhood market that Branch owned. Two days later, Spann died in a segregated black hospital. Branch was white—a Klansman—and Spann was black. Branch claimed self-defense, but despite that claim and the political climate in Dothan, Alabama in 1946, Branch was charged with first-degree murder. S.E. Branch was the artist’s great granddaddy, on his mother's side. Everyone says they looked alike. That this story echoes across decades and generations says much about the distance travelled by U.S. society since 1946.

Awardee: Travis Wilkerson

Moving Image, 2015

Travis Wilkerson makes films in the tradition of the "third cinema," wedding politics to form in an indivisible manner. His films have screened at numerous venues and festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Toronto, Rotterdam, Vienna, Yamagata, the FID Marseille and the Musée du Louvre. He was named one of the top 50 avant-garde filmmakers of the decade by the Film Comment critic’s poll. His best-known work is an agit-prop essay on the lynching of Wobbly Frank Little, An Injury to One.

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