Film Series

HBO Documentary Films, Shouting Fire: Screening and Conversation

October 16, 2009

This documentary about freedom of speech in the U.S. features First Amendment attorney, Martin Garbus, and his views on the past and present state of free speech.

FOLCS was joined by director, Liz Garbus, lawyer, Martin Garbus, and professor, Abner S. Greene, for a screening and discussion.

Watch HBO Documentary Films, Shouting Fire: Screening and Conversation here.

See more from FOLCS here.

Liz Garbus
Director & Producer

Academy Award–Nominated and Emmy Award–winning Producer/Director Liz Garbus is one of America’s most accomplished and prolific documentary filmmakers. Her most recent film, Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009, and was broadcast on HBO in June.

In 1998, Garbs achieved international public and critical acclaim for her Academy Award–nominated film The Farm: Angola, USA. Made in collaboration with Jonathan Stack, The Farm was the result of a three-year relationship that the filmmakers fostered with Louisiana Corrections Officials and with six men confined at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. In addition to its Oscar nod, The Farm won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, two Emmy Awards, the National Film Critics Best Documentary of the Year, and other awards and festival recognition.

Following The Farm‘s success, Garbus co-founded Moxie Firecracker Films with producer/director Rory Kennedy.

With Garbus directing and Kennedy producing, the two made the feature-length documentary Girlhood, which tells the story of two young girls convicted of violent crimes, and was called “one of the most important films of the year” by LA Weekly. In 2002, Garbus’s feature documentary The Execution of Wanda Jean premiered at the Sundance film festival and aired later that year on HBO’s America Undercover series. In 2005, Garbus and Kennedy were Executive Producers of Street Fight (aired on PBS), which was nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Documentary category and won a Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award. In 2006 Moxie Firecracker collaborated with Rosie Perez (Do the Right Thing) to produce Yo Soy Boricua, Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas! for IFC. Garbus and Kennedy’s credits also include Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, which premiered at Sundance and won the Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special of 2007, and Coma for HBO Documentary Films, which aired July 2007. Garbus has also produced and directed multiple television specials for networks including Lifetime, MTV, A&E, Discovery, Court TV, Sundance Channel, Oxygen, and many others.

Martin Garbus

Besides being court martialed in the army for his speech, Martin Garbus was jailed in both Mississippi and California for defending protesters, faced a Bar Association disciplinary proceeding for articles he wrote critical of South African judges in the New York Times and New York Review of Books (it was dismissed after a First Amendment action was filed in the New York Federal Court). He faced possible life imprisonment charges for his role as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Pentagon Papers case. He was also detained in Russia for attempting to deliver a letter from Andrei Sakharov to then-President Jimmy Carter (the attempt was successful).

Martin Garbus is one of the country’s leading trial lawyers. He represents his commercial and criminal clients in both the courts and the public media. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court as well as trial and appellate courts in the nation in over 100 cases.

The Guardian called him “one of the world’s finest trial lawyers” and the “founding partner of one of America’s most prestigious law firms.” In 2007, Business Week called him “legendary,” “a ferocious lawyer who has received numerous media citations as one of America’s leading trial lawyers” and a “ferocious litigator”; Time magazine named him “legendary, one of the best trial lawyers in the country.” Fortune magazine called him “one of the nation’s premier First Amendment attorneys,” and “legendary”; Reuters called him a “famed lawyer,” while other media have called him “America’s most prominent First Amendment lawyer” with an “extraordinarily diverse practice” and “one of the country’s top ten litigators.” Super Lawyers magazine designated him as a “Superlawyer.” New York Magazine and Los Angeles Magazine, over the last twelve years have named him as one of America’s best trial lawyers and one of America’s best intellectual property lawyer.

Abner S. Greene

Abner S. Greene is the Leonard F. Manning Professor of Law at Fordham Law School. He graduated from Yale College (magna cum laude) and from Michigan Law School (summa cum laude). He then clerked for Chief Judge Patricia M. Wald on the D.C. Circuit and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. NYU Press published his book, Understanding the 2000 Election.