DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN?
2017, 90 minutes
“In 1946, my great-grandfather murdered a black man named Bill Spann and got away with it.” So begins Travis Wilkerson’s critically-acclaimed, immensely powerful documentary, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?, which takes us on a journey through the American South to uncover the truth behind a horrific incident and the societal mores that allowed it to happen.
Acting as guide and narrator, Wilkerson begins in Dothan, Alabama, where he interviews civil rights activist Ed Vaughn, as well as local residents, and his own family members. His questioning soon leads to uncomfortable confrontations from both residents in town and his own family, along with real threats of violence. Haunting 8mm home movies (of his great-grandfather) reveal further buried secrets, including the possibility of another crime.
Wonder Who Fired the Gun? is a personal investigation into our
collective history; a look at how events form the past can reverberate into the
future. Wilkerson deftly interweaves scenes from To Kill a Mockingbird,
the music of Janelle Monáe and Phil Ochs, and the story of Rosa Parks’ investigation
into the case of Recy Taylor, with
his own family history, to create an extraordinary, landmark work.
Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival
Official Selection, True/False Film Fest
"An urgent, often corrosive look at America’s past and present through the prism of family, patriarchy, white supremacy and black resistance.” — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"Intense, mesmerizing, and heartbreaking. It’s hard to experience Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? and not get shivers up your spine — from fear, from anger, and from the beauty of Wilkerson’s filmmaking." — Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
"One of the strongest works at a chilling Sundance Film Festival. Wilkerson doesn’t offer an answer. But raising the question — at this moment when families are torn apart by what they believe America is and should be — is more than enough."
— Amy Taubin, Artforum
"Travis Wilkerson comes from the school of cinematic self-inquiry. His latest, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?, the unequivocal highlight of this year’s True/False, takes this approach further – and to greater heights – than ever before." — Jordan Cronk, Sight & Sound