Bring Down The Walls looks at the US prison industrial complex through the lens of house music and nightlife. The connection comes from the years in which Phil Collins worked with men incarcerated at Sing Sing, a maximum-security prison in upstate New York. After access was revoked, Collins recorded a compilation of classic house tracks with vocalists who have formerly been incarcerated, and set up a communal space in the heart of Manhattan’s court district dedicated to the struggle for social justice and prison abolition. During the day, discussions were led by people who have been directly impacted by the prison system. At night, it transformed into a dance party hosted by DJs, performers and collectives from New York’s vibrant club scene. Combining these strands, Bring Down The Walls proposes the dance floor as a real and metaphorical space of personal and collective liberation, and new ways in which we could come together as a society.
Phil Collins is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Berlin and Wuppertal. Since the late 1990s his diverse practice, which looks at the intersections of art, politics and media, has been recognised for its commitment to social reality and lived experience. Over the years, Collins has worked with various popular formats – from documentary, karaoke and reality television to soap opera, teleshopping, music video and anime – and has collaborated with, amongst others, disco-dancing Palestinians, fans of The Smiths across three continents, Kosovar Albanian refugees, the youth of Baghdad, anti-fascist skinheads in Malaysia, the homeless population of Cologne, teachers of Marxism-Leninism from the former German Democratic Republic, men incarcerated at one of the United States’ largest prisons, and prisoners, pensioners, school kids and a symphonic orchestra in Glasgow.
Stefan Ramírez Pérez
Cinéma du réel, France, 2020
Special Mention Original Music Award
IFFR Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2020
CPH:DOX, Denmark, 2020
Sheffield Doc/Fest, United Kingdom, 2020
Shady Lane Productions
10117 Berlin, Germany