Punk the Capital: Building a Sound Movement [in Washington D.C.]

2019, 88 minutes, HD
PTC International in association with Sphairos Productions
Producer / co-director James June Schneider
Co-created by Paul Bishow and Sam Lavine


When punk rock exploded in Washington D.C. in the mid-1970s, it was a mighty convergence of powerful music, friendships, and clear minds. Punk the Capital takes us through the transformative period (1976-1983), situating D.C. punk within the larger narratives of punk and rock n' roll. It takes us to the heart of why both the sounds and ideas from this unique music scene continue to influence and inspire around the world. Focusing on bands such as Bad Brains and Minor Threat and featuring persons such as Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye and Cynthia Connolly, the film creates a portrait of a movement that not only redefined a genre but that created a model for social and political engagement.

The Band That Met the Sound Beneath

Spanish title: La Banda que Buscò el Sonido Debajo
French title: Réverbèration

Produced by Jirafa films (Chile), Ama Productions (France)

(2012, 85 min., HD-RED)

The Band That Met the Sound Beneath on Facebook

In February, 2010, the renowned Chilean band Panico traveled through the desert of northern Chile to record an album in the Atacama desert. After two decades of punk and post-punk rock, these offspring of political exiles are themselves rocked by not only the strange sounds and voices of the north but by a major earthquake...

Available for rent or purchase on Vimeo


Jean Epstein, Young Oceans of Cinema

French title: Jean Epstein, La Mer lyrosophe

Produced by bathysphere productions (France), La Cinémathèque française (France)

(2011, 68 min., HD)

A portrait of avant-garde French filmmaker Jean Epstein as seen through the island-world of Brittany where he tested his profound aspirations for cinema.

Available for streaming on IFFR Unleashed (Rotterdam Film Festival)


Degradation #2: Scratch

Made in collaboration with Paul Bishow

(2008, 16mm, 7min, color)

The emulsion of a film loop and its optical soundtrack are progressively scratched nearly completely from its surface by a "modified" record needle. We simultaneously hear and see the scratching.

The original footage 13 second 16mm loop was taken from an education film on mining and drilling.

To see how the film was made, click here


The End of the Light Age

1, 2, 3, Whiteout
(European title)

Produced by Sphairos Productions (USA), La Huitième compagnie (France)
(2007, 16mm to 35mm, color, 75 min, USA / France)
Starring Karine Adrover and Lou Castel

This 'tone-poem' for darkness' mixes amazing scenes with diverse archive footage, an exceptional sci-fi sensibility and incredible soundscapes to form a blissfully imaginative retro-futuristic creation"
- Leeds Intl. film festival, 2007

DVD & soundtrack released fall 2008 in collaboration with and available via Zeromoon

Available for rent or purchase on Vimeo


Degradation 1: X-Ray

These two short films were made using x-ray radiation, recording its effects on film.

Part 1: Shroud of Security

(16mm, 3min. 30, color, 2007)

Washington Project for the Arts

Part 2. Government Radiation

(16mm, 3min. 30, color, 2006)

Shroud deals a radiation blow to virgin film through air travel security, this volume, through US government security checkpoints.

Sound by Violet (aka Jeff Surak)


The New Ball Game

(2006, video, 65min, color)

This film was screened locally in Washington DC, prior to the 2006 Mayoral elections. It contains the last glimpses and words from a neighborhood cleared out for the Nationals Baseball Park. Most of the inhabitants and businesses were forcibly evicted using "eminent domain" laws.


(2007, 16mm to 35mm, color, 75 min, USA / France)

Through the thick smoke of sausage stands appears the image of the extreme right xenophobe Jean-Marie Le Pen. Though he is one step away from the French presidency in May 2002, the clandestinely filmed scenes of this rally foretell his defeat.

Median Strip

(9 min., color, 16mm, 1999)

Part 3 of the Dystopian Trilogy

"Through the metaphor of the American freeway and the use of found footage, we sense how mobility and freedom of movement are kept in check by a booming incarceration business" (Festival International du Film Indépendant, Brussels, Belgium). This final chapter of the Dystopian Trilogy came to be used as an educational tool by the folks at Critical Resistance.


A video copy of the Dystopian Trilogy is available in a VHS cassette format with box cover designed by Santiago Cucullu (why VHS is a great format)

Blue is Beautiful

(32 min., color, 16mm, 1997)

press clippings

This road movie was made with DC's notorious gospel-punk outfit The Make-Up. The musicians seek "creative asylum" in a subcultural womb. Parisian critic: "C'est comme si Foucault roulait avec les situationistes dans le Scooby-Doo Van" Starring The Make-Up and psychadelica filmmaker Tom Howell.

DVD with Blue is Beautiful and an hour of Make-Up wunder material available through Dischord Records

Available for rent or purchase on Vimeo

The Staticose Chamber

(8 min., color, 16mm, 1997)

Documentation of The Staticose Chamber, a device (work in progress) which uses methodically orchestrated combinations of image and sound to reverse the effects of excessive or incapacitating types of audio-visual abuse. With Dr. Harun Nazir, Paul and Travis Bishow, Lely Constantinople, Peter Hoey, and Dr. Stanley Kaplan. Produced by The Monadic Institute.

This film is visible online at


Fred Camper, Chicago Reader

(10 min., color, 16mm, 1995)

Part 2 of the Dystopian Trilogy

Surreal rendering of a "master-planned" community, Green Valley, in the suburbs of Las Vegas, Nevada - with members of the band Combustible Edison.


(8 min, color, 16mm, 1993)

Part 1 of the Dystopian Trilogy

This distilled atmospheric portrait is a glimpse of what was once called a "cultural Chernobyl", Euro- Disney. It was shot soon after the amusement park's opening in 1992, just outside of Paris, France.


Alive in the Land of the Ladies

(10 min, color, 16mm, 1993)

Set in the world of the glam-rock band: Snatch-Patch - Starring Jessie Quitslund, Gordon Terry, John Lane, and James Schneider as band members and Alex Tydings' film premiere as the assassin.