Monday, June 17, 2013

Gideon's Army (2013)

WHO: Dawn Porter directed this.

WHAT: I haven't seen this documentary about Deep South public defenders 50 years after the Earl Warren Supreme Court's landmark Gideon v. Wainwright decision, so let me quote from a review by Tambay A. Obenson:
The minimalist, verite-style documentary is free of any embellishments - even a soundtrack, except for the occasional muted drone or beats. Director Porter simply documents the action, on camera, sans voiceover narration, or any visual gimmicks. She doesn't lead the audience nor insert herself into the picture, which I appreciated, as it could've lessened the impact audiences would experience of this rather cold, stark, all-consuming, even dangerous and potentially depressing world that the film's subjects exist in - both the public defenders and their primarily impoverished clients.
WHERE/WHEN: Tonight only at the Little Roxie at 9:00.

WHY: When SF IndieFest's DocFest showcase moved its position on the annual festival calendar from October (as it was in 2012) to June 6-23 this year, it gave the programming team access to a greater number of documentaries that had played at, and even perhaps won awards at, the Sundance Film Festival (still one of the top showcases for brand-new documentaries, especially those made by U.S. filmmakers), but had not yet found a venue for a Frisco Bay theatrical premiere. Gideon's Army fits this profile perfectly; it won the "best editing" award from Sundance, but had DocFest not been around to screen it, it might have skipped local cinemas entirely as few venues seem likely to want to touch a documentary after it has its HBO television premiere, as this will in two weeks.

HOW: Digital presentation of a digital production.

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