“The more we make it difficult to express dissenting views or controversial views, the less we can move, the less we can change, the less we can even understand.” – Floyd Abrams
Floyd Abrams: Speaking Freely explores America’s dedication to the foundational principles of free speech and free press through the groundbreaking work of attorney Floyd Abrams. A biopic of the First Amendment told through Abrams’ important cases, the film reveals how this legal giant helped transform the First Amendment from an oft-ignored principle into a bulwark of American democracy. As the nation grapples with issues such as hate speech, book banning, the impact of money in politics, artificial intelligence and the dangers of boundless internet communication in a rapidly changing media ecosystem, Abrams continues to advocate for broad First Amendment protections. The film offers critical context for how we came to this moment where free speech issues have never felt more complicated and urgent, and where the nation is wondering anew: what price are we willing to pay for free speech?
FOLCS hosted a live screening of influential new film, Floyd Abrams: Speaking Freely. The screening was followed by a discussion with renowned First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams and the film’s director Yael Melamede.
This event was produced in partnership with the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan.
First Amendment Attorney
A renowned First Amendment attorney, Floyd Abrams is Senior Counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel. A sought-after attorney and public speaker, he has been a leading thinker on First Amendment issues for decades.
Yael Melamede is the co-founder of SALTY Features, an independent production company based in New York City whose goal is to create media that is thought-provoking, vital, and enhances the world. Melamede’s documentary credits include Pay or Die (2023), 1341 Frames of Love and War (2022), the Jigsaw Productions/Amblin Entertainment six-part series Why We Hate (2019), When I Walk (News & Documentary Emmy Award Winner, 2015), Desert Runners (2015), Inocente (Academy Award Winner, Best Doc Short, 2013), and My Architect (Academy Award Nominee, 2004). Her directorial debut was (Dis)honesty—The Truth About Lies (2015). Yael was an architect before becoming a filmmaker and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.