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Dawn Porter, director of “Trapped” and “Gideon’s Army,” discusses how she switched careers from being a lawyer to a documentary maker; and how she chose her topics. Her first film “Gideon’s Army” looked at public defense lawyers in the south and influenced action by Attorney General Eric Holder. Her latest film “Trapped” won the 2016 Sundance Film Festival special jury prize. It profiles abortion clinics in the south including Whole Woman’s Health that will have its fate determined by the Supreme Court this year.
“As a lawyer, this idea that a state could knowingly pass laws that are probably unconstitutional, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around that. I wanted to figure out how that could possibly be the case.”
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“Making a Murderer” directors Laura Riccardi and Moira Demos discuss the ten-year process of creating their acclaimed Netflix series. This conversation with Thom Powers took place with a live audience at New York’s IFC Center on February 25, 2016. The filmmakers were joined by their editor Mary Manhardt and Wisconsin attorney Stephen Glynn who appears in the series. The talk has been condensed and edited for Pure Nonfiction.
“Making a Murderer” had its world premiere at the DOC NYC festival in November 2015 and was released a month later on Netflix. The series looks at a controversial true crime case in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Steven Avery served 18 years in prison for a wrongful conviction in the sexual assault of Penny Beernsten. (The actual perpetrator was Gregory Allen). After being exonerated with the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, Avery filed a civil suit against Manitowoc County and its officials for $36 million. Stephen Glynn was on Avery’s legal team. In fall 2005, as depositions were taking place for the suit, Avery was accused of a new crime, the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach whose body parts were found on the salvage yard where he lived.
As graduate film students, Riccardi & Demos began covering the Avery case in 2005 and took 10 years to complete the project. Other key names in this conversation are Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey, who was brought to trial as an accomplice; the special prosecutor Ken Kratz; and Avery’s criminal defense lawyers Jerome Buting and Dean Strang.
On Pure Nonfiction, the filmmakers take us through the steps of production and reflect on their long journey.
“It did at times get really difficult for Moira and me,” says Riccardi. “Our families were really concerned about us – with good reason – and wanted assurances from us that we really couldn’t provide.”
Thanks to SundanceNow Doc Club for sponsoring this episode.
Azmaish: A Journey Through the Subcontinent - Sabiha Sumar
BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat - Sara Driver
Cocaine Prison - Voileta Ayala
Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars - Lili Fini Zanuck
Ex Libris - The New York Public Library - Frederick Wiseman
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami - Sophie Fiennes
Jane - Brett Morgen
Jim & Andy: the Great Beyond - the story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman with a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton - Chris Smith
Living Proof - Matt Embry
Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle - Gustavo Salmerón
Love Means Zero - Jason Kohn
Makala - Emmanuel Gras
Of Sheep and Men - Karim Sayad
One of Us - Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me - Sam Pollard
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood - Matt Tyrnauer
Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart - Tracy Heather Strain
Silas - Anjali Nayar, Hawa Essuman
Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! - Morgan Spurlock
The Carter Effect - Sean Menard
The China Hustle - Jed Rothstein
The Final Year - Greg Barker
The Gospel According to André - Kate Novack
The Judge - Erika Cohn
The Legend of the Ugly King - Hüseyin Tabak
The Other Side of Everything - Mila Turajlic
There is a House Here - Alan Zweig