International Feature Dox

Riotsville, USA

United States
2022 — 91' / Color



Welcome to RIOTSVILLE, USA, a turning point in American history where the protest movements of the late 1960s came into conflict with increasingly militarized police departments. Focusing on unearthed military training footage of Army-built model towns called “Riotsvilles,” where military and police were trained to respond to civil disorder, director Sierra Pettengill reconstructs the formation of a national consciousness obsessed with maintaining law and order by any means necessary. Drawing insight from a time similar to our own, RIOTSVILLE, USA pulls focus on American institutional control; how it’s constructed and how it manages to rumble on.

Official Trailer

Director Biography

Sierra Pettengill’s work focuses on the warped narratives of the American past. Most recently, she directed the archival short The Rifleman, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Her 2017 feature-length film, the all-archival documentary The Reagan Show, premiered at the Locarno Film Festival before airing on CNN. She directed the ‘Big Dan’s Tavern’ episode of the Netflix series Trial By Media about the first televised rape trial in the U.S. Her 2018 all-archival short film, Graven Image, aired on POV and is held at the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. In 2013 she produced the Academy Award-nominated film Cutie & the Boxer, which also won an Emmy Award for Best Documentary, and co-directed (with Jamila Wignot) Town Hall about the emergent Tea Party movement, for PBS.

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Sierra Pettengill


Jamila Wignot

Sara Archambault


Nels Bangerter


Cinetic Media
Jason Ishikawa
[email protected]