The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 83rd Academy Awards.
Among the films selected for this “short list” are: Waste Land (directed by Lucy Walker), which will air this season on Independent Lens; and the ITVS-funded William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe(by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler), which aired this season on P.O.V.
William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universeaired last night on P.O.V. on PBS. But the conversation continued online well into the next day. Filmmakers Emily and Sarah Kunstler both logged on for a live chat with their audience immediately after the broadcast.
With America’s best known civil rights lawyer still fresh in everyone’s thoughts, the daughters fielded a wide range of questions from viewers. One participant asked how their father would have felt about the internet as a platform for activism. Both Emily and Sarah were convinced he would have been obsessed with following his press mentions through “Google alerts.” Read the full transcript from last night’s chat here.
Plus, watch exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the film. Here you will see how Michelangelo’s David, an inspiration to a young William Kunstler, came to life through animation.
A self-described radical, Kunstler was one of the best-known civil rights attorneys in American history. He came from a privileged background and settled as a lawyer in Westchester County in the 1950s, setting up a small practice with his family. But Kunstler cut his teeth in the 1960s, representing freedom riders in Mississippi on behalf of the ACLU.
His daughters refer to him as a “silver tongued, pied piper,” who could charm a jury and bring national attention to underserved members of society. Kunstler passionately battled for the demands of the American Indian Movement in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, and later, the inmates of Attica prison.
It was his handling of the Chicago Seven case in 1969, however, that made him famous. Kunstler represented seven individuals charged with inciting race riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He sparred openly with the judge and prosecutor and was cited for contempt, nearly facing an unprecedented four years in prison.