A film by Courtney Stephens, Pacho Velez
2020, 70 minutes
No. 279

The American Sector explores the presence of the Berlin Wall in the United States: as an object, artifact, and supposed symbol of national values.

For 18 months Pacho Velez and Courtney Stephens traveled the US to document sections of the wall that are on display in over 75 locations, ranging from the serious (Fort Benning) to the bizarre (Main Street Station Casino in Las Vegas) and even the campus of nearby Capital University. Along the way, interviews with unusual characters who own, maintain, and interact with pieces of the wall offer a window into American culture, and through the film these Cold War relics become a catalyst for exploring today’s timely issues.

Official Selection, Berlin Film Festival
Official Selection, San Francisco International Film Festival
Official Selection, AFI Fest
Official Selection, Human Rights Film Festival Zagreb
Official Selection, Maryland Film Festival

“Public art and political divisions, the sway of history, and the impulse toward freedom are inseparable elements in the doc’s richly nuanced palette … What might seem at first an inquiry into another nation’s story builds into a provocative illumination of all our histories, and of the here and now. Another wall — one that’s still more concept than reality and on many Americans’ minds — is alluded to and left to the viewer’s contemplation.” – Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter