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Trailer For Doc 'Gideon's Army' (On Idealistic Public Defenders Working In Deep South)

by Tambay A. Obenson
March 12, 2013 12:02 PM
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Public Defender Brandy Alexander in Dawn Porter's 'Gideon's Army'
Public Defender Brandy Alexander in Dawn Porter's 'Gideon's Army'

A fascinating documentary that I saw a couple of months ago, while it was premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, on a subject that I wouldn't have ever even considered as a documentary topic; needless to say, I'd really appreciated, was informed and even entertained by it.

Titled Gideon’s Army, from African American filmmaker Dawn Porter, the film tells the story of a group of the idealistic public defenders working in the Deep South, and the man who brought them together to train, mentor and turn into lawyers.

This is Gideon’s Army:

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. 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 6-figure law-school debts. 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? 

Dawn Porter's resume includes executive producing feature films, was director of standards and practices at ABC News and vice president of standards at A&E. She was also an attorney at ABC Television before beginning her film career, so her background seemingly informs her filmmaking, which should make for a comprehensive study here.

I reviewed the film in January, which you can read HERE.

It'll next screen at the 16th Annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will be held April 4-7, 2013, in Durham, NC.

Porter has released a brand-new trailer for the film, which is embedded below:

Gideon's Army trailer from Dawn Porter on Vimeo.

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  • Sweeta | March 12, 2013 10:04 PMReply

    Thanks Sweet Babay Jeesuz! I've been waiting for a trailer for this for a minute! Now I just gotta wait to see the actual film and I am 103% excited with a 3% margin of error. You go Dawn Porter girl! I saw her in some interviews for this piece--that Sista is fiyah!

  • Donella | March 12, 2013 3:33 PMReply

    Thanks for the clip. Was afraid this might be another White savior highlight reel, but almost everyone of the public defenders is African American.

  • AI | March 12, 2013 1:57 PMReply

    Finishing up law school myself, so I really wanna see this.

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