Riotsville, USA

Directed by Sierra Pettengill

1968: massive civil unrest, followed by a rare chance for justice. Riotsville, USA is the untold story of what happened instead. 

Taking its name from “Riotsvilles” – the Army-built model towns where military and police personnel were trained to respond to domestic civil disorder – this documentary offers a critical reflection on the reaction of US state institutions to the rebellions of the 1960s. 

Repurposing archive footage shot by the United States military and broadcast news companies, director Sierra Pettengill dissects the Johnson administration’s Kerner Commission, which resulted in an explosive increase in federal funding for police. 

Riotsville, USA pulls focus on the manoeuverings of American institutional control, and how the machine of state power rumbles on today. 


91 minutes

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