Documentary Screening of John Gianvito

Saturday 4th Nov to Monday 6th Nov

The Centre for Film & Ethics at Queen Mary University of London, in collaboration with Close-Up Cinema, is pleased to present American documentary director John Gianvito’s complete seminal diptych For Example, the Philippines over one weekend. A screening of Vapor Trail (Clark) (2010) on Saturday, 4 November will be followed by the UK premiere of Subic (Wake) (2015) on Sunday 5 November. To mark the occasion, John Gianvito will be present for Q&As after the films. Weekend events will be complemented by a masterclass on political cinema, and Gianvito “in conversation” on Monday, 6 November. In anticipation, Gianvito’s earlier film Profit Move and the Whispering Wind (2007) will be screened at the Whitechapel Gallery on Thu 26 Oct.

 John Gianvito is an acclaimed filmmaker, teacher, curator, and critic. For Example, the Philippines, patiently unearths the violent legacies of US colonialism and militarism in the island nation. In 1991, the US finally closed down and withdrew from the Clark Air Base and the Subic Bay Naval Base, which occupy a 500-square mile territory (an area twice the size of Chicago). But the host of contaminants left at the sites and their environs continues to devastate local residents. The contaminated sites act as a microcosm for the colonial history, militarism, and class and ethnic divisions that continue to plague the Philippines. Gianvito’s film essays combine interviews, photographs, and historical texts to examine the toxic aftermath on people and the environment of US imperialism.

Together, the films are over nine hours in length. Gianvito argues passionately for the importance of this long duration which requires patience from the viewer but gives space and time to the protagonists and seeks some filmic form for the long temporal unfolding of environmental contamination. At once an act of agit-prop and an ethical witnessing, For Example, the Philippines presents a genuine “history from below.” Acknowledging that landscape is always also political, the biochemical violations inflicted by militarism finally emerge as an assault on life itself. And as the diptych’s title suggests, the Philippines is only an “example” of the systematic destruction wrought by our global cultures of war. There are countless others.



Thu 26 Oct, Whitechapel Gallery (7pm)

Profit Move and the Whispering Wind (2007) Further details here:


Saturday, 4 Nov, Close-Up Cinema (12:30pm)

For Example: The Philippines, Vapor Trail: Clark (2010), DCP, 264 minutes. Q&A with John Gianvito after the screening. Please see the Close-Up website for ticket prices and booking:

Sunday, 5 Nov, Close-Up (11:00am)

For Example: The Philippines, Wake: Subic (2015), DCP, 277 minutes Q&A with John Gianvito after the screening. Please see the Close-Up website for ticket prices and booking:

Monday, 6 Nov, Concluding events, QMUL

Masterclass with John Gianvito (1:00-3:00pm), and John Gianvito in conversation: Political Cinema in an Age of Toxicity (5:00-7:00pm). Please sign up for these events using Eventbrite: Masterclass –  In Conversation –