School of Law Partners with Recent Graduate to Produce The Response, a Film Examining Guantanamo Military Tribunals
Through its innovative Linking Law and the Arts series, the School of Law has partnered with Sig Libowitz ’07, a film industry veteran, to produce The Response, a 30-minute film that examines the trial of an Arab detainee and the military judges who must decide his fate. Based on the actual transcripts of the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals, “The Response” is a courtroom drama that will, for the first time, allow audiences to see and hear what goes on inside Guantanamo.
The Response presents some of the most important questions at the core of our constitutional democracy in a compelling and accessible way for a broad audience,” said Dean Karen Rothenberg. “By making this film, the School of Law is advancing one of its missions as a public law school -- to improve public understanding of law and legal institutions. Because of its innovative format, The Response doesn’t so much answer the questions presented, as create a framework for audiences to debate, discuss and explore the issues.”
In the fall of 2006, Libowitz approached Dean Rothenberg with the prospect of working on a film about the Guantanamo Bay detainees. Libowitz then wrote The Response while a student here as a result of his work with Professor Michael Greenberger and the University’s Center for Health and Homeland Security. Professor Greenberger serves as a technical advisor on the film. Several other current students are involved in making the film, which was shot on location at the law school from Feb. 1-3.
The film stars Peter Riegert (Crossing Delancey, Animal House, Barbarians at the Gate, The Sopranos), Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek, Voyager, Throw Momma from the Train, Cheers), Libowitz, and Aasif Mandvi (Comedy Central's The Daily Show, CSI, E.R., and Spiderman 2). The Response is directed by Adam Rodgers who won a student Emmy Award, and whose short film, Grandparents, was a finalist for the N.Y.U. Directors Prize. The production team includes Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Richard Chisolm, and Emmy Award-winning sound mixer Dennis Towns.
Watch a video of the actors discussing their involvement with the film.
Writer and producer Sig Libowitz was the Executive-in-Charge of Production for In the Bedroom, (starring Sissy Spacek and Marisa Tomei) which was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Additionally, he served as the Vice-President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions at Paramount Classics, and Director of Production at Film Four (based at Warner Brothers). On the other side of the camera, Sig’s acting credits include recurring roles on both Law & Order and The Sopranos. He is a 2007 honors graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, where he was a member of the school’s national championship-winning trial team, and practices law as an Associate at Venable, LLP in Washington DC.
All of the actors, crew and other personnel working on the film are either donating their time or working for reduced rates. The use of some production equipment has also been donated by the crew. Many of the vendors have provided services at highly reduced rates. The balance of the costs are being paid through the Law School’s Linking Law & Arts Project, a program that uses the arts to explore complex issues in law and public policy. The Linking Law & Arts project is generously funded a grant from the France Merrick Foundation.
Libowitz and the School of Law plan to enter the film into a variety of film festivals and are seeking television distribution. They anticipate that the film and related materials will be used for a variety of educational purposes. For more information, please contact Teresa LaMaster, Associate Dean for Institutional Advancement at (410) 706-2070 or