IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund Grantee

Riotsville, USA

Sierra Pettengill
Sara Archambault, Jamila Wignot
Grant Year(s):


1968: Massive civil unrest, followed by a rare chance for justice. Riotsville, USA is the untold story of what we did instead. Told through a series of all-archival chapters chronicling forgotten and increasingly bizarre events, the film reveals the mechanism by which a nation declares war against its own.

Sierra Pettengill, Director

Pettengill is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. Most recently, she directed the Big Dan’s episode of the 2020 Netflix series Trial By Media, executive produced by George Clooney and Jeffrey Toobin. In 2017, she co-directed and produced the all-archival feature documentary The Reagan Show, which examines how President Ronald Reagan exploited television and media to shape his policies and control his legacy. The film premiered at the Locarno Film Festival before broadcasting on CNN. Her latest short The Rifleman is an archival look at the U.S. Border Patrol and NRA and will premiere at the Metrograph Theater in New York in October 2020. Her all-archival short Business of Thought, about New York institution Artists Space, premiered at the 2020 Sheffield Documentary Festival. In 2018, she directed Graven Image, produced with Field of Vision, which uses 100 years of archival material to interrogate the false history behind Confederate monuments. It premiered at the 2018 True/False Film Festival, aired on PBS’ POV, and is in the permanent collection at the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. Sierra’s debut Town Hall was co-directed with Jamila Wignot and broadcast nationally on PBS in 2014. That same year, she produced Zach Heinzerling’s Academy Award-nominated Cutie and the Boxer, which won a News & Documentary Emmy Award for Best Documentary. She has additionally worked extensively as an archival researcher on projects such as Jim Jarmusch's Gimme Danger (Cannes 2016), Mike Mills' 20th Century Women (NYFF 2016), and Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor (Sundance 2018). She was a 2017/2018 Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellow, a fellow at the MacDowell and Yaddo Artist colonies, and writes frequently about film for publications including frieze magazine and Film Comment.

Sara Archambault, Producer

Archambault is a creative producer dedicated to the craft of artful nonfiction storytelling. She has an extensive professional history in production, programming, and foundation work—including 10 years as Program Director at the LEF Foundation and 9 years as Head Programmer of award-winning documentary film series The DocYard. Past producing credits include Emmy-nominated documentary Traces of the Trade/dir. Katrina Browne (Sundance, POV 2008), Street Fighting Men/dir. Andrew James (IFFBoston 2017), award-winning short Community Patrol/dir. Andrew James (Big Sky, T/F 2018) and Truth or Consequences/dir. Hannah Jayanti (Rotterdam 2020). Sara's work has received support from Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute, SFFILM, Catapult Film Fund, Hot Docs International Pitch Forum, Film Independent, Stella Artois/Women in Film Finishing Fund, and IFP Spotlight on Documentaries. She was a 2013 Sundance Producing Fellow, a 2020 Impact Partners Producing Fellow and received the 2020 Nonfiction Vanguard Award from SF DocFest.

Jamila Wignot, Producer

Wignot is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her directing work includes the The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (PBS), hosted by Henry Louis Gates and chronicling the five hundred year history of African Americans, the series won Peabody, Emmy, and NAACP awards; Town Hall, a feature-length co-production with ITVS and co-directed with Sierra Pettengill following Tea Party activists determined to unseat Barack Obama; and for PBS’s American Experience series, the Peabody Award-winning, Triangle Fire and Emmy-nominated Walt Whitman. Jamila’s producing credits include W. Kamau Bell’s Bring The Pain (A&E); Sundance Award-winning director Musa Syeed's narrative feature, A Stray (SXSW); Street Fighting Men, following Black Detroiters fighting for the city they love; and The Rehnquist Revolution, the fourth episode of WNET’s series The Supreme Court, which was an IDA Best Limited Series winner. She is currently directing the first feature-length documentary about the visionary choreographer Alvin Ailey.