From the 2010 News Archive
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Law School-Backed Film Advances in Academy Voting

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Dec. 4 that "The Response," a 30-minute courtroom drama based on the actual transcripts of Guantanamo Bay Combatant Status Review Tribunals, and produced by Sig Libowitz '07 in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Law, is one of only 10 live action short films that will advance in the voting process for the 82nd Academy Awards.

The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting in screenings held in New York and Los Angeles. Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the 10 titles that advanced, with nominations to be announced on Tuesday, February 2.

"Shaping policy, providing legal services to those in need, and publishing innovative scholarship are some of the ways that this Law School seeks to serve society. Making 'The Response' is another," said Phoebe Haddon, Dean of the School of Law. "Its selection as one of the world's best short films in 2009 is a tribute to the individuals who recognized the power of this medium to educate the public about a vital legal issue."

Libowitz began writing "The Response" while he was a student at the School of Law, and produced the movie in collaboration with the School of Law which provided funding 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 ("Animal House," "The Sopranos"), Kate Mulgrew ("Star Trek: Voyager"), and Aasif Mandvi ("The Daily Show"), and examines the trial of a suspected enemy combatant and the military judges who must decide his fate.

"It's humbling and tremendously exciting to be chosen as one of the top ten short films in the world," said Libowitz. "I came across the material that formed the basis of the film while taking a class at the law school, and it means a great deal to bring this attention back to Maryland, the law school and all the students and faculty who helped make this movie. It was a collaborative effort."

The American Bar Association (ABA) had previously selected "The Response" as the 2009 recipient of its prestigious 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."

"The Response" was shot exclusively at the University of Maryland School of Law. 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 won the Audience Award at the Politics on Film Festival in Washington, D.C. The film also has been invited to screen for the Pentagon and the Department of Justice.


Posted by Jamie Smith on Dec. 11, 2009

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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