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Tag: Law-Genre Docs

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“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”: A Minority Bank, Racial Bias, and the Democratization of Credit 

February 26, 2017

Steve James presents the story of the Sungs and their struggle to save their family-run Chinatown bank from a misguided prosecution based on cultural incompetence.


“The Return”: Resentencing, Reentry Support, and a Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Evolving Roles 

June 21, 2016

“The Return” reveals why a lawyer, deeply involved in the resentencing of Three Strikers as a way of reducing mass incarceration, placed reentry services near the top of his concerns.


Only “Good Victims” Need Apply: “Tales of the Grim Sleeper” and Poor Black Women in Crack Culture 

May 27, 2016

The story of a serial killer who took advantage of crack culture to prey on black women can tell us much about what is wrong with the notion of “the good victim.”


“Last Day of Freedom”: Bill Babbitt’s Struggle with the Stigma of Being the Brother of a Murderer 

January 25, 2016

How does a brother cope with the shame, guilt, regret, and anger of being the relative of a mentally-ill ex-Marine who committed a murder, but should not have been executed for it?


Not Girls in a Gang nor a Gang of Girls: A Law-Focused Review of “Out in the Night” 

August 11, 2015

The law uses the term “gang” too loosely.  “Out in the Night” explores what happened when the term was applied to four young-adult black working-class lesbians from Newark.


Collective Trauma, Transitional Justice and Two Documentaries about Philadelphia’s Confrontation with MOVE 

July 3, 2015

As “Let the Fire Burn” (2013) and “The Bombing of Osage Avenue” (1987) show in very different ways, May 13, 1985 was a traumatic day in the history of police/citizen relations in Philadelphia.  Its legacy is reflected in contemporary controversies over race relations in America.


“The Look of Silence”: Vicarious Fear, Transitional Justice, and Documentary Practice 

June 8, 2015

Like “The Act of Killing,”  Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence” examines the 1965 Indonesian genocide; this time the focus is Adi Rukun, the brother of a victim, who pursues his own mission of truth and reconciliation.


Portraying Young Black Men “with a Background”: An Authenticating Audience Reviews “Evolution of a Criminal” 

February 26, 2015

“Evolution of a Criminal,” with its complex portrait of the filmmaker, offers an good starting point for an audience with lived experience to consider how the media should portray young black men with criminal records.


Blurring the Boundary Between the Doc World and the Law: A Conversation with Chico Colvard 

December 16, 2014

Chico Colvard–documentary filmmaker, film series curator, and lapsed lawyer–explains how he puts skills acquired during his legal training to work in the documentary world.



October 21, 2014

The PA Department of Corrections’ nearly complete ban on recording in its facilities by lawyers and the media needs to be reexamined in light of advances in the use of digital audiovisual technology and visual legal advocacy.


When HBO or POV Comes Calling: Defense Counsel’s Role in an Observational Documentary of a Criminal Proceeding 

September 21, 2014

Supreme Court precedent required that a juvenile offender serving four consecutive terms of LWOP be resentenced.  Learn about the role his defense lawyers played in representing him as the subject of the observational documentary “15 to Life.”


Storytellers Needed! Collaborations and the Promise of i-Docs 

August 14, 2014

When social justice collaborations and storytellers are in short supply, visual legal advocates should pursue the promise of i-Docs (Interactive Documentaries) to encourage participation and activism for change.