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Content

Law


Law and Legal Studies



RULE OF LAW

Directed by Dan Iacovella

RULE OF LAW shares the story of a newly-disabled outlaw in rural Tennessee whose local court case on minor traffic violations evolves into a landmark class action lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court where the rights of 55 million people and the Americans with Disabilities Act itself are at stake. A lawyer from one of the smallest counties in the country represents the outlaw and takes it to the highest court in the land to debate issues of sovereign immunity and due process.

It reveals how questions of civil rights affecting a broad spectrum of people can arise out of the most unlikely sources, how a good lawyer should never ignore any client and should look for constitutional issues in whatever thorny problems his/her clients have, how slow the legal system is, how unresponsive government lawyers can sometimes be and how anyone, no matter what their history, along with a single small-town lawyer can work together to help millions of people.


DVD / 2016 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adults) / 47 minutes

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DR. FEELGOOD: DEALER OR HEALER?

Directed by Eve Marson

The case of Dr. William Hurwitz educates audiences on the complexities involved in opioid painkiller prescriptions.

The story of Dr. William Hurwitz - a preeminent pain specialist sentenced to 25 years in prison for drug trafficking - provides a window into the ethical dilemma of opioid prescriptions. Painkillers give doctors tremendous power to relieve pain, a primary goal of any physician. But this power begets trouble when the same drugs can lead to addiction, abuse and death.

In 2004 Dr. William Hurwitz was convicted of over 50 counts of narcotics distribution and handed a 25-year prison sentence. DR. FEELGOOD traces Dr. Hurwitz's trial and eventual appeal, detailing the events that led to his arrest.

Testimonies from the witnesses in Dr. Hurwitz's case contradict one another - some revere him, while others condemn him. Taken together, their accounts reveal a profile of a compassionate yet flawed doctor. The film, in telling his story, underscores the tension between every patient's right to pain relief and the lawful need for drug control. There could not be a more critical time to spark discussion on the topic, and call for careful thought and action.


DVD / 2016 / (Grades 10 - 12, College, Adults) / 84 minutes

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INCARCERATING US

Directed by Regan Hines

Exposes America's prison problem and explores various criminal justice reforms.

Incarcerating US exposes America's prison problem and explores ways to unshackle the "land of the free" through vital criminal justice reforms. With 2.3 million people behind bars, the U.S. has the largest prison population in the history of the world.

Through dramatic first-hand accounts, expert testimony, and shocking statistics, Incarcerating US asks fundamental questions about the prison system in America: What is the purpose of prison? Why did our prison population explode in the 1970s? What can make our justice system more just?

The film begins with a brief overview of U.S. prisons and the flawed policies that fueled unprecedented overincarceration. In many cases, these laws exacerbate problems they were designed to solve. Through both empirical evidence and the eyes of those tragically affected by the system for committing minor crimes, we see the failures of two major initiatives: the War on Drugs and mandatory minimum sentences.
< Incarcerating US tells the story of America's broken criminal justice system through the eyes of those who created it, those who have suffered through it, and those who are fighting to change it. After decades of failures, now is the time to unshackle the land of the free.


DVD / 2016 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adults) / 84 minutes

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UNLOCKING THE CAGE

Director: Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker

Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. Arguing that cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins and elephants have the capacity for limited personhood rights, Steve and his legal team are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform a chimpanzee from a "thing" with no rights to a "person" with legal protections. Unlocking the Cage captures a monumental shift in our culture, as the public and judicial system show increasing receptiveness to Steve's impassioned arguments. It is an intimate look at a lawsuit that could forever transform our legal system, and one man's lifelong quest to protect "nonhuman" animals.


DVD / 2016 / 91 minutes

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1971

Director: Johanna Hamilton

On March 8, 1971, a group of citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, PA, took every file, and shared them with the public. Their actions exposed the FBI's illegal surveillance program of law-abiding Americans. Now, these previously anonymous Americans publicly share their story for the first time.

The FBI, established in 1908, was for 60 years held unaccountable and untouchable until 1971, when The Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI, as they called themselves, sent the stolen files to journalists at the Washington Post, which published them and shed light on the FBI's widespread abuse of power. These actions exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI's illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans, and helped lead to the country's first congressional investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies.

The activist-burglars then disappeared into anonymity for forty years. Until now. Never caught, these previously anonymous Americans parents, teachers and citizens publicly reveal themselves for the first time and share their story in the documentary 1971. Using a mix of dramatic re-enactments and candid interviews with all involved, the film vividly brings to life one of the more important, yet relatively unexplored, chapters in modern American history.


DVD / 2015 / 79 minutes

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FEAR OF 13, THE

Director: David Sington

After 23 years on Death Row a convicted murderer petitions the court asking to be executed. But as he tells his story, it gradually becomes clear that nothing is quite what it seems.

The Fear of 13 is a stylistically daring experiment in storytelling, a psychological thriller constructed from a single four-day long interview. In a monologue that is part confessional and part performance, Nick, the sole protagonist, tells a tale with all the twists and turns of classic crime drama. But as the story unfolds it reveals itself as something much deeper, an emotionally powerful meditation on the redemptive power of love and literature. A final shocking twist casts everything in a new light.


DVD / 2015 / 96 minutes

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WHEN JUSTICE ISN'T JUST

Director: David Massey

Directed by Oscar-nominated and NAACP Image Award winner David Massey, this dynamic documentary features legal experts, local activists, and law enforcement officers delving into ongoing charges of inequality, unfair practices, and politicized manipulations of America's judicial system. Additionally, the Black Lives Matter movement and citizens nationwide question the staggering number of police shootings of unarmed Black men and women.


DVD / 2015 / 40 minutes

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EVERGREEN: THE ROAD TO LEGALIZATION

Director: Riley Morton and Nils Cowan

Evergreen: The Road to Legalization is the definitive feature documentary film on Ballot Initiative 502, which made Washington the first American state to legalize possession of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, when it went into effect on December 6, 2012. Evergreen: The Road to Legalization captures this historic time, providing a balanced view of the issues surrounding Initiative 502 by going inside both proponent and opponent camps to see how citizens are working to change cannabis prohibition policy.

This documentary serves as a case study to demonstrate how Washington State citizens have dealt with the complex politics surrounding marijuana prohibition. What are the local, federal and cultural implications of the first U.S. state voting to approve recreational marijuana possession by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin? How did Washington State get a marijuana reform law passed while Proposition 19 failed in California? Why are many medical marijuana patients, dispensaries and care providers strongly opposed to I-502?

Evergreen answers these questions while tracking the behind-the-scenes efforts of both campaigns - from initial grassroots fundraising efforts, to tense exchanges and conflict-filled campaign stops, to the historic vote by Washington state citizens that effectively ended 75 years of cannabis prohibition policy and its future implications.


DVD / 2013 / 86 minutes

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LAW OF THE DRAGON, THE

Directed by Weijun Chen

Law of the Dragon examines how justice is served in the rural areas of China so remote and isolated that villagers have almost no contact with the central government. At the heart of the film stands the austere Judge Chen, head of a provincial legal practice, the Tiger Law Firm of Chengdu. Chen journeys with his team of court officials along mud tracks and rough roads in the Xuan'en region. Their court is wherever they hang the national emblem, be it nailed up in the fields or stuck up in the plaintiff's house. As he resolves the grievances of the residents and dispenses nuggets of Confucian-Communist wisdom, Judge Chen is the law in the eyes of the people.

Among the cases heard is the story of a family attempting to hold a school responsible for the suicide of their only son. In another, Judge Chen listens to the complaints of a mother who is suing her son for maintenance. Though the judge strives to remain fair, he often transcends his official role, reminding villagers that they cannot always rely on the law and must work to preserve peace and harmony in their community without recourse to the intervention of the country's official justice system.


DVD / 2012 / 58 minutes

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BETTER THIS WORLD

Directed by Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega

The story of two young Texans accused of intending to firebomb the 2008 Republican National Convention reveals the workings of the post 9/11 security state.

How did two boyhood friends from Midland, Texas wind up arrested on terrorism charges at the 2008 Republican National Convention? BETTER THIS WORLD follows the journey of David McKay (22) and Bradley Crowder (23) from political neophytes to accused domestic terrorists with a particular focus on the relationship they develop with a radical activist mentor in the six months leading up to their arrests. A dramatic story of idealism, loyalty, crime and betrayal, BETTER THIS WORLD goes to the heart of the War on Terror and its impact on civil liberties and political dissent in post-9/11 America.


DVD / 2011 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 89 minutes

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HOT COFFEE: IS JUSTICE BEING SERVED?

Directed by Susan Saladoff

Tells the truth about the McDonald's hot coffee case and exposes the influence of corporate America on our civil justice system.

Seinfeld mocked it. Letterman put it on one of his Top Ten lists. More than 15 years later, the McDonald's coffee case continues to be cited as a prime example of how citizens use "frivolous" lawsuits to take unfair advantage of America's legal system.

But is that an accurate portrayal of the facts? First-time filmmaker and former public interest lawyer Susan Saladoff uses the infamous legal battle that began with a spilled cup of coffee to investigate what's behind America's zeal for tort reform. By following four people whose lives were devastated by the attacks on our courts, this thought-provoking documentary challenges the assumptions Americans hold about "jackpot justice."


DVD / 2011 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 86 minutes

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CRUDE

Director: Joe Berlinger

Three years in the making, this cinema-verite feature from acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother's Keeper, Paradise Lost, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) is the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial legal cases on the planet. An inside look at the infamous $27 billion "Amazon Chernobyl" case, Crude is a real-life high stakes legal drama set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures. Presenting a complex situation from multiple viewpoints, the film subverts the conventions of advocacy filmmaking as it examines a complicated situation from all angles while bringing an important story of environmental peril and human suffering into focus.


DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2009 / 105 minutes

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AMERICAN OUTRAGE

Directed by George Gage and Beth Gage

Two elderly Western Shoshone sisters, the Danns, put up a heroic fight for their land rights and human rights.

Carrie and Mary Dann are feisty Western Shoshone sisters who have endured five terrifying livestock roundups by armed federal marshals in which more than a thousand of their horses and cattle were confiscated -- for grazing their livestock on the open range outside their private ranch.

That range is part of 60 million acres recognized as Western Shoshone land by the United States in the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, but in 1974 the U.S. sued the Dann sisters for trespassing on that land, without a permit. That set off a dispute between the Dann sisters and the U. S. government that swept to the United States Supreme Court and eventually to the Organization of American States and the United Nations.

AMERICAN OUTRAGE asks why the United States government has spent millions persecuting and prosecuting two elderly women grazing a few hundred horses and cows in a desolate desert? The United States Bureau of Land Management insists the sisters are degrading the land. The Dann sisters say the real reason is the resources hidden below this seemingly barren land, their Mother Earth. Western Shoshone land is the second largest gold producing area in the world.


DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2008 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 56 minutes

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BLACK WAVE: THE LEGACY OF THE EXXON VALDEZ

Directed by Robert Cornellier

The story of the Exxon Valdez and the 20-year legal battle to get restitution from ExxonMobil.

In the early hours of March 24th 1989 the Exxon Valdez oil supertanker runs aground in Alaska. It discharges millions of gallons of crude oil. The incident becomes the biggest environmental catastrophe in North American history.

In a flash, dramatic images shoot across the planet. They show thousands of carcasses of seabirds and sea otters covered in oil. A thick black tide rises and covers the beaches of once-pristine Prince William Sound.

For twenty years, Riki Ott and the fishermen of the little town of Cordova, Alaska have waged the longest legal battle in U.S. history against the world's most powerful oil company - ExxonMobil. They tell us all about the environmental, social and economic consequences of the black wave that changed their lives forever.

This is the legacy of the Exxon Valdez.


DVD / 2008 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 99 minutes

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MCLIBEL: TWO PEOPLE WHO WOULDN'T SAY SORRY

The new feature-length version and final chapter in the saga of the postman and the gardener who took on McDonald's. And won.

McLIBEL is the story of two ordinary people who humbled McDonald's in the biggest corporate PR disaster in history.

McDonald's loved using the UK libel laws to suppress criticism. Major media organizations like the BBC and The Guardian crumbled and apologized. Then they sued gardener Helen Steel and postman Dave Morris. In the longest trial in English legal history, the "McLibel Two" represented themselves against McDonald's óG10 million legal team. Every aspect of the corporation's business was cross-examined: from junk food and McJobs, to animal cruelty, environmental damage and advertising to children. Outside the courtroom, Dave brought up his young son alone and Helen supported herself working nights in a bar. McDonald's tried every trick in the book against them. Legal maneuvers. A visit from Ronald McDonald. Top executives flying to London for secret settlement negotiations. Even spies.

Seven years later, in February 2005, the marathon legal battle finally concluded at the European Court of Human Rights. And the result took everyone by surprise-especially the British Government.

McLIBEL is not about hamburgers. It is about the importance of freedom of speech now that multinational corporations are more powerful than countries.

Filmed over ten years by no-budget Director Franny Armstrong, McLIBEL is the David and Goliath story of two people who refused to say sorry. And in doing so, changed the world.


DVD (Color) / 2005 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 85 minutes

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