SYNOPSIS

“Post No Bills” is the award-winning documentary film about Los Angeles-based “guerilla” political poster artist Robbie Conal, a professional painter who has splattered hundreds of thousands of his caricatured paintings-as-posters across the United States' urban streets, militantly affixed by himself and his cult following of urban guerilla volunteers to construction sites, traffic light switching boxes and any other surface area large enough to house one of these satirical images.

Beginning in 1986 with the onset of the Iran-Contra hearings, artist Robbie Conal has distributed his work in a way even Andy Warhol might not have dreamed possible. As Conal points out, "these are some of the most famous paintings of any contemporary artist because I make you see them whether you want to or not." The original canvases, from which the posters are reproduced, simultaneously grace gallery walls and art collectors' homes.

In September 1990, after Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates stated that "casual drug users ought to be taken out and shot," Conal began collaborating with student Patrick Crowley on a poster criticizing this hyperbolic remark. When an outraged world focused on Los Angeles in March of 1991 with the release of the graphic video footage of the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles’ police officers, Conal and crew took to the L.A. streets his most inciting and inflammatory image to date; a poster depicting the police chief on a full torso N.R.A. shooting target with the text "casual drug users ought to be taken out and beaten.” “Post No Bills” concentrates on this poster of Gates, celebrating the potential of this infamous piece of political street art while exploring the disassociation to be made between Conal and his subject matter.

“Post No Bills” foregrounds the tension between Conal's creative process and the lures of a desperate notoriety achieved through catering to the news media's craving for controversy in his journey to benefit financially from the dual life of his work. Photographed in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City over a significant two year period, the film tells Conal’s story through a variety of perspectives including gallery owners, city officials, news reporters, actor Tim Robbins, the Reagans, and even Oliver North. The film contains what is possibly the only filmed interview with controversial LAPD Police Chief during his tenure between the Rodney King beating and the L.A. riots. The film also documents Gates’ resignation from his controversial position as Police Chief.

This film was funded by the ITVS (Independent Television Service) in their first open call for entries in 1991 and was the first delivered broadcast-hour ITVS project in history (August 1992). The film has been featured in over twenty international film festivals over the last 15 years and broadcast nationally on PBS.

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PREVIEW TRAILER

 

PRIMARY CAST

Robbie Conal
Daryl Gates
Ronald Reagan
Ron Reagan
Oliver North
Miner
Mike Gerrard
Sean McCarthy
Tim Robbins

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PNB EXHIBITION

The feature length version of "Post No Bills" was completed in July of 1992.
  • PNB was first privately exhibited at the Independent Feature Film Market in New York City in September of 1992.
  • PNB was first publicly exhibited the following month at the Cork Ireland International Film Festival in October of 1992.
  • During that same month, at the Chicago International Film Festival, PNB was awarded first place (silver Hugo) for feature length documentary.
  • PNB was first broadcast on PBS in July of 1993.

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CRITICS QUOTES

"A telling portrait of Conal and his mission..."
Creative Loafing, Atlanta

"Powerful and irreverent, thoroughly engaging and smartly done..."
Atlanta Journal Constitution

"Post No Bills is an example of the many-sided reporting
one yearns for on the evening news."
Honolulu Academy of Arts

"Fascinating subject, well-balanced film... Walker has hit upon a
fascinating subject and does a remarkable job of addressing the
most important questions about Conal in this film"
Orlando Sentinel

"I can't tell you how much fun it is to actually see some of Conal's
subjects talking about the artwork that is directed at them."
Film Threat Magazine

"An appropriately gritty glimpse..."
The Oakland Tribune

"Walker has created an engaging picture of Conal as guerilla artist
who is in it as much for the laughs as he is for the money."
Tucson Citizen

"Walker captures it all with a style as breezy as Conal's own personality.
The light touch makes the subject matter seem that much more brutal."
Tucson Citizen

"Obviously Academy Award stuff..."
Daryl F. Gates (5/93)

"There is a certain irony in the way Walker charts Conal's rapid rise
from anonymous satirist to media celebrity."
Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times

"Walker has chosen a subject so complex and frought with apparent
contradiction - or maybe naivete - as to certainly hold our attention..."
Atlanta Press

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VIDEO CLIPS

 

 

 

 

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PRESS

"Post No Bills - Robbie Conal Was Here," Film Threat Video Guide, Issue 2, p.18, 1991.

"Rochester Festival Brings in Films on a Shoestring," Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY, May 2, 1991, p. 12C.

"Ex-Memphian's film to be on WKNO," The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN, May 28, 1991.

"AFI Sets Indie Showcase Schedule," Daily Variety, June 27, 1991.

"In Light of Recent Events," URB Magazine, July 1991, pp. 26-28 (selected photographs.)

"Venice 'guerilla' Artist Conal Subject of 'Post No Bills' Film," The Argonaut, August 8, 1991, B-2.

"Underground," Film Threat Magazine, November 1991, P. 65.

"B*Y*T*E*S," Screen International, September 25, 1991, p. 2.

"All for One, Cinequest for All," San Jose Mercury News, October 4, 1992, p.3.

"In Search of Film," Metro, San Jose, CA, October 8-14, 1992, p. 30.

"The Artist as a Young Guerilla," Los Angeles Times, November 2, 1992, F7.

"Human Rights Fest Continues at Grand Illusion," The Seattle Times, November 13, 1992.

"Taking a Pasting: Conal on Receiving End of Satirical Posters," Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1992, pp. F1, F9.

"Robbie Conal, The Statement of an Artist," Letters to the Editor, Los Angeles Times, November 28, 1992, p. F4.

"The New Activism," Filmmaker Magazine, Winter 1992, p. 65.

"'Post No Bills' Satirist Works for Laughs, Too," Citizen, Tucson, AZ, January 21, 1993, p. 8.

"Film Looks at Poster Artist's Antics," Arizona Daily Wildcat, January 22, 1993, p. 6.

"Film Notes," The Washington Post, February 12, 1993.

"Guerilla in the City," Film Threat Video Guide, Issue 7, p. 62-63.

"Top 10 Street Posters," Venice Magazine, February 1993, p. 68-69.

"ITVS' Trial by Fire," The Independent, March 1993, p. 10-12.

"In and Out of Production," The Independent, March 1993, p. 40.

"Expo Offerings Explore Guerilla Art Tactics," Albuquerque Journal, March 18, 1993, p. E2.

"Short Runs," New City, Chicago, May 6, 1993, p. 34.

"'Bills' Documents Rise of Political Artist," The Atlanta Journal Constitution, May 10, 1993, p. C8.

"Guerilla Artfare," Creative Loafing, Atlanta, May 8, 1993, p. 78-79.

"Movies: One-Night Stands, " Express, Berkeley May 14, 1993, p. 34.

"Festival: New Movies are Focusing on Human Condition," The Oakland Tribune, May 18, 1993.

"One Man's Propaganda Art" The Orlando Sentinel, June 2, 1993, pp. E1, E3

"Robbie Conal: Sharpening the Critical Edge," Zone Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp. 42, 45.

"An Eye For the Camera," Memphis Magazine, February 1994, p. 12.

"Political Strokes," The Memphis Flyer, February 24 - March 2, 1994, p. 13 & 24.

"Flick of the Week," Atlanta Press, November 13-19, 1998, p. 30.

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TECHNICAL INFO

POST NO BILLS
16 mm. black & white running time - 56:40 min.
projection aspect ratio 1:33
©1992, Clay Walker, all rights reserved.

16 mm optical / Digibeta / BetaSP / DV / DVD

produced, directed, photographed and edited by Clay Walker
co-produced and sound by Marianne Dissard

Major funding for this program was provided by the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
through the Independent Television Service.