Producers' Forum: Gideon's Army



International House Philadelphia
3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
See map: Google Maps

Tuesday, September 17, 7PM
International House Philadelphia
3701 Chestnut St
Tickets: $10, $7 for students and seniors, $5 for Scribe and IHP Members

Director Dawn Porter in person

Presented in partnership with International House Philadelphia
The screening of Gideon's Army is co-sponsored by the Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law.

Gideon’s Army
Directed by Dawn Porter (USA, 2013, 95 min)

Gideon’s Army follows the personal stories of Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Backed by mentor Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center (now known as Gideon’s Promise) they struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year.

This event will also feature a post-screening panel discussion on the role of Public Defenders in today’s court system moderated by Regina Austin.

Dawn Porter -- Director of Gideon's Army (see below)

Karl Baker -- Mr. Baker is a 1975 honors graduate of Rutgers-Camden Law School where he served as articles editor of the Rutgers-Camden Law Journal. After working as a pro se law clerk in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, he began his career at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. Since 1989 he has been Chief or Assistant Chief of the Appeals Division at the Defender. In addition to activity in the bar, he has served as an officer on the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and national boards of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Aaron J. Marcus -- Mr. Marcus is an attorney with the Defender Association of Philadelphia. He received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in 2004 where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law & Inequality and his B.A. from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Before joining the Defender Association, Mr. Marcus served as a staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He has written and published on issues of drug policy, policing, and federalism. His articles have appeared in the William Mitchell Law Review, the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy and the Whittier Journal of Child & Family Advocacy. He is now specializing, writing and lecturing in the area of sex offender law and policy.

Regina Austin -- Ms. Austin is currently William A. Schnader Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She has pursued an interest in the overlapping burdens of race, gender, and class oppression in traditional legal scholarship, as well as documentary film. She is the director of the Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law, which holds an annual Visual Legal Advocacy Roundtable for public interest lawyers, hosts screenings of law-genre documentary films throughout the year, and maintains a national repository of dozens of clemency videos as a resource for attorneys representing capital defendants.


Dawn Porter is the founder of Trilogy Films. She is an alumni of the Tribeca All Access program, where she won the 2011 juried Creative Promise Award for Gideon’s Army. Realscreen named Porter one of their 2012 Doc Hot Shots 15 emerging directors to watch. Other Trilogy projects include Spies of Mississippi for ARTE Germany and PBS, and a documentary about celebrity Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli for the Cooking Channel. Before becoming a filmmaker she was the Director of News Standards and Practices at ABC News, and Vice President of Standards and Practices at A&E Networks.

Producers' Forums are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.