Special Screening: THE BATTLE OF PUSSY WILLOW CREEK

Coming to NYC’s Anthology Film Archives‘ NewFilmmakers series tomorrow, Wednesday, August 17: THE BATTLE OF PUSSY WILLOW CREEK

Wendy Jo Cohen’s fictional documentary had its world premiere at last year’s Atlanta Film Festival. In my coverage of Atlanta for indieWIRE, I wrote:

While initially frankly concerned that PUSSY WILLOW would be another in a long line of unsuccessful mockumentaries, I was pleasantly proven wrong by NY-based filmmaker Wendy Jo Cohen’s smart film. The very term “mockumentary” is rather inappropriate for the film, which treats its themes and its subjects affectionately. Lampooning the style and format of Ken Burns’ PBS series THE CIVIL WAR, PUSSY WILLOW reveals the “true” story of a critical Civil War battle fought by an opium-addicted gay colonel, his aged Chinese advisor, a nerdy freed slave/engineer, and a one-armed cross-dressing teenage prostitute against a secret battalion of British forces, with the fate of Washington DC at stake. An obvious labor of love, the film successfully comments on gays in the military, racism, xenophobia, and sexism in a sly, entertaining manner throughout. Programmers should take note – a variety of audiences will respond extremely well to this film, and it bears serious consideration.

Note: I debated whether or not to post about this film, because, up until now, I have strictly focused on non-fiction work. I’m bending my own rules a bit because, in many ways, director Wendy Jo Cohen’s (aka “Grace A Burns”) loving send up offers a good illustration of documentary conventions actual non-fiction projects may want to avoid. Here, they’re funny; used in “real” docs, they’ll probably engender a “Dear Documentary Filmmakers” post or two.

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Filed under Dear Documentary Filmmakers, Film, Recommendations

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