From the 2009 News Archive
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"The Response" Awarded ABA's Silver Gavel for the Arts

The American Bar Association (ABA) has selected the film "The Response" as the 2009 recipient of the prestigious ABA Silver Gavel Award for "Drama and Literature." The Silver Gavel Award is the ABA’s highest honor in recognition of media and the arts that foster the public's understanding of law and the legal system. Since 1958, other winners in this category have included "Judgment at Nuremberg;" "To Kill a Mockingbird;" the Henry Fonda film, "Twelve Angry Men," and NBC’s "Law & Order."

A 30-minute courtroom drama based on the actual transcripts of the Guantanamo Bay Combatant Status Review Tribunals, "The Response" was written by film industry veteran Sig Libowitz while he was a student at the University of Maryland School of Law. Libowitz also produced the movie in collaboration with the School of Law and funded through its "Linking Law & Arts Program," with support from the France-Merrick Foundation and Venable LLP, where Libowitz is now in practice. The film stars Peter Riegert, Kate Mulgrew, and Aasif Mandvi, and examines the trial of a suspected enemy combatant and the military judges who must decide his fate.

"The Response" was shot exclusively at the law school. Students and faculty assisted in all aspects of filmmaking, including research and vetting the screenplay. "The Response" has been the subject of educational programs, developed by the law school, in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and New York, and has been accepted into seven Academy Award qualifying film festivals.

"As a public institution, a core part of our mission is to educate the public about the American legal system," says Karen H. Rothenberg, JD, MPA, dean of the School of Law. "Making a movie was an innovative and thought-provoking way to show audiences the critical legal issues at stake in the Guantanamo tribunals, and we are tremendously proud that the ABA has recognized our efforts."

ABA President H. Thomas Wells Jr. will present Silver Gavel Awards to honorees at a special program event on Wednesday, July 1 at the National Press Club. Jeffrey Toobin, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and senior analyst for CNN Worldwide (and winner of last year's Silver Gavel for Best Book [non-fiction]), is the featured speaker.


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved