SUNDANCE: Directors Tease 'Gideon's Army,' 'Fallen City,' 'Newlyweeds,' 'Soldate Jeannette' And 'Lasting'
The Sundance Film Festival is continues through the weekend. In the lead-up to the awards Saturday, M.L. continues its series profiling this year's filmmakers. Beginning last week Movieline posted details about this year's U.S. and World Competition and NEXT films and filmmakers in their own words. In today's round Dawn Porter (Gideon's Army), Zhao Qi (Fallen City), Shaka King (Newlyweeds), Daniel Hoesl (Soldate Jeannette) and Jacek Borcuch (Lasting preview their films.
[Related: WATCH: Get To Know 5 Sundance Film Festival Filmmakers (And Their Films) AND SUNDANCE: Directors Tease 'Dirty Wars,' 'Fire In The Blood,' 'God Loves Uganda,' 'A Teacher,' 'Narco Cultura']
Gideon's Army by Director Dawn Porter [U.S. Documentary Competition]
In 1963, the landmark Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright guaranteed all defendants facing imprisonment the right to a lawyer. Now, every year millions of Americans facing trial rely on fewer than 15,000 public defenders, and the country’s justice system hangs in the balance. Gideon’s Army confronts this crisis head-on, tracking a group of young southern public defenders hell-bent on protecting the sanctity of human liberty.
Taut, visceral filmmaking plunges us into the unbelievably demanding lives of three fledgling public defenders in Georgia and Mississippi. Not only are they juggling hundreds of cases independently, but their offices don’t have adequate resources, and their salaries barely cover personal expenses—including six-figure law-school debts.
As all three lawyers harness ingenuity, perseverance, and adrenaline to fight for their indigent clients, we wonder: How long can they keep working in a constant state of emergency? Will they find the moral support to sustain this higher calling? And if not, what happens to our democracy? [Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]
Responses by Director Dawn Porter
The Gideon's Army quick pitch:
More than 12 million will be arrested this year and many will join the one in six Americans with criminal records. If you have a criminal record in addition to facing prison, you cannot vote, you are not eligible for public housing or federal student aid. With the cost of imprisonment so high, who are the lawyers who stand between a defendant and incarceration?