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Law and Society


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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Directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Galloway

After California's "Three Strikes" law was amended, thousands of lifers were suddenly freed, but re-entry presented problems for the lifers, their families and their communities.

In 2012, California amended its "Three Strikes" law--one of the harshest criminal sentencing policies in the country. The passage of Prop. 36 marked the first time in U.S. history that citizens voted to shorten sentences of those currently incarcerated. Within days the reintegration of thousands of "lifers" was underway.

THE RETURN examines this unprecedented reform through the eyes of those on the front lines--prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, reentry providers helping navigate complex transitions, and attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law. At a moment of reckoning on mass incarceration, what can California's experiment teach the nation?

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

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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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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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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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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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Director: Teresa MacInnes and Kent Nason

Buying Sex is a timely examination of the ongoing and global debate about prostitution laws. Would decriminalizing prostitution free sex workers to take more control over their activities, run legal brothels and manage their own business without fear of punishment? Or would it give the buyers of sex (as well as illicit sex-trade business owners) even more power and opportunity to benefit from and possibly exploit the sale of sexual services? This revealing film allows both sides to make their case.

Filmed in Sweden, New Zealand and Canada, Buying Sex introduces sex-consumers ("johns"), sex workers, and policy-makers who, with eye-opening clarity, challenge our pre-conceptions.

Featuring Trisha Baptie, a woman who used to work the streets of Vancouver's downtown and now is an abolitionist and journalist; Janine Benedet, the lawyer for the intervener Women's Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution; Valerie Scott, sex worker and advocate who entered the trade when she was 16 years old, Angel Wolfe, daughter of Brenda Anne Wolfe, who was one of the victims of serial killer Robert Pickton, and many others.

DVD / 2013 / 75 minutes

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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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Directed by Rachel Seifert

Documents the devastating effects of the war on drugs and suggests realistic alternatives.

COCAINE UNWRAPPED tells the story of cocaine: coca farmers in Colombia, drug mules in Ecuadorian prisons, cocaine factories in the Bolivian jungle, dealers on the streets of Mexico, law enforcement officials on the streets of Baltimore -- and the everyday consumers around the dinner tables of the West. It's a story of politics, death, economic and environmental devastation and human suffering, and explores realistic alternatives to the war on drugs.

The film features front line reportage, exclusive access to the political leaders of Latin America, such as Evo Morales of Bolivia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador, as well as revealing interviews with drug czars. Watch this film and you will never think the same way again about the "War on Drugs".

DVD / 2011 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 83 minutes

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Directed by Marshall Curry

The Academy Award-nominated story of the radicalization of an environmental activist, from his involvement in and later disillusionment with Earth Liberation Front sabotage, to his eventual arrest by the FBI and incarceration as a domestic terrorist.

In December 2005, Daniel McGowan was arrested by Federal agents in a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front-- a group the FBI has called America's "number one domestic terrorism threat."

For years, the ELF--operating in separate anonymous cells without any central leadership--had launched spectacular arsons against dozens of businesses they accused of destroying the environment: timber companies, SUV dealerships, wild horse slaughterhouses, and a $12 million ski lodge at Vail, Colorado.

With the arrest of Daniel and thirteen others, the government had cracked what was probably the largest ELF cell in America and brought down the group responsible for the very first ELF arsons in this country.

IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT, directed by Marshall Curry (Street Fight), tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of this ELF cell, by focusing on the transformation and radicalization of one of its members.

Part coming-of-age tale, part cops-and-robbers thriller, the film interweaves a verite chronicle of Daniel on house arrest as he faces life in prison, with a dramatic recounting of the events that led to his involvement with the group. And along the way it asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism, and the way we define terrorism.

Drawing from striking archival footage -- much of it never before seen -- and intimate interviews with ELF members, and with the prosecutor and detective who were chasing them, IF A TREE FALLS explores the tumultuous period from 1995 until early 2001 when environmentalists were clashing with timber companies and law enforcement, and the word "terrorism" had not yet been altered by 9/11.

DVD / 2011 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 85 minutes

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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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Directed by Judy Jackson

The first film about a crucial new commitment to the international rule of law: the International Criminal Court.

This is the first film about a crucial new commitment to the International Rule of Law-so victims will no long suffer without being heard, and war criminals will be punished.

Sixty years ago, with the Nuremberg charter, the world first said "Never Again." But these proved empty words for the victims of the Cold War years. The Superpowers couldn't agree on a universal code to punish war criminals. Tyrants ruled with impunity.

So the voices of their victims have echoed down through the decades, refusing to be silent, even in death. Joined by relatives who are unable to move on, until they know how their loved ones died. Different languages from different places, but with the same universal theme-begging to be delivered from the torment of living somewhere between life and death. Telling us that they will be able, finally, to rest, when we find out how they died. Insisting we listen.

It is because of these voices that International Justice has been reborn. In 2002 the International Criminal Court was established in The Hague. So far 100 countries have signed on to the Court's mandate. However, the world's remaining superpower, the United States is strongly opposed.

The new Court is already busy. It is investigating crimes against humanity in Darfur. It has issued indictments against leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army in Northern Uganda who abduct children and force them to fight. And a militia leader from the Democratic Republic of the Congo faces charges of recruiting children as young as 8 to fight for him.

For the first time war criminals are being forced to listen. The victims' voices now haunt them, telling them they will not be silent until justice is done.

DVD (Color) / 2005 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 66 minutes

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