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UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hammer Museum present

Contested Landscapes: Three Digital Features by James Benning

Stemple Pass
March 4, 2022 -
March 6, 2022
filmmaker James Benning, curator Steve Anker.

"The artist is someone who pays attention and reports back."—James Benning.

In recognition of James Benning’s 50 years as the creator of singular and uncompromising films, videos and installations, the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hammer Museum present a weekend of three features that span the artist’s years of working with digital technology. Beginning with Ruhr (2009), a penetrating study of Germany’s primary industrial region and continuing with Stemple Pass (2012), a portrait of revolutionary social outsiders, the weekend concludes with the U.S. premiere of a major new piece, Benning’s THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (2021). Long considered a consummate craftsman of 16mm film, James Benning transitioned to digital technology in 2009, quickly achieving a comparable level of mastery with this new medium. Throughout the decades, the artist is best known for elegantly framed landscape studies—built upon rigorous conceptual and formal structures—that slowly and subtly become fields of evidence and revelations of discovery. Indefatigable for five decades, Benning has produced over 30 feature-length films and videos as well as numerous shorts and museum installations that deal with the perception of reality and underlying social implications. Each Benning film becomes an encounter with time and the unexpected in ways that can only be achieved through cinema.

In conjunction with this program, James Benning will be showing further work at two locations in the Los Angeles area. His recent film on Paradise Road (2020) will be on view throughout March at O-Town House. Second, in collaboration with neugerriemachneider, Berlin, Benning’s new and expansive project ALABAMA (2019-2021) will be on view to the public for three consecutive weekends in March in his home in Val Verde. For further information please visit:

Steve Anker

Program curated by Steve Anker and James Benning.

James Benning will appear in person at every screening in this series.

Special thanks to the Archive’s community partner: Los Angeles Filmforum

Funding has been provided by California Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Past Programs & Events

Title Date and Time Location
Cars in a racing track.


Sunday, March 6, 2022 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Stemple Pass

Stemple Pass

Saturday, March 5, 2022 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Smoke billowing from a smokestack.


Friday, March 4, 2022 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater