History is Manifested Through These Individuals: The Fight Directors on Following the ACLU Lawyers Challenging Trump | Interviews

History is Manifested Through These Individuals: The Fight Directors on Following the ACLU Lawyers Challenging Trump | Interviews

And that was something with the lawyers, you know yes they were certainly so on top of the reality of the legal work but they’re also these extraordinary talented people, at the height of their ability, pushing themselves to the limits and it’s really electrifying to be in the room with them. 

ELYSE STEINBERG: This was a hard film to make. These were complicated stories and we had to find ways to condense them, and to synthesize them, and to weave them together, it was a big editing feed. And finding ways to make lawyers funny, and entertaining when all they do is look at the brief for hours. When he was editing, Eli and the other editor, Kim Robertson had to find ways that lawyers running to the coffee machine was a big action scene. He even had to finding comedy like the lawyer who was always trying to charge his phone. I felt like we needed that comedy in this. And I think if you saw our film “Wiener,” we like to look for ways to find a human moment, to find the comedic moments in such a dark story. 

I happened to see the film on this same day that the Supreme Court handed down their new decision prohibiting employment discrimination against LGBT people. What kind of context does that give the film? 

ED: It puts into stark relief that this story never really ends. The struggle for civil rights and the ACLU’s mission are ongoing. The ACLU has been doing this for 100 years. Chase Strangio from our film was instrumental in that. It doesn’t stop, we’re pretty excited that we got to be with these subjects for the last three years. We find it inspiring and exciting, and I think we are proud and happy that they’re going to continue to fight for people. We find critical battlegrounds in American experience and that does not stop when the movie is over. 

ES: It was just so thrilling. I spoke with Chase, he was so surprised. One of the things that it showed, which is something that we were trying to do with this movie, is just a sense of hope. You can fight for justice and sometimes you can win. And I think we’re just seeing that right now in this moment with the Supreme Court, with people in the streets protesting. If there ever was a time to see stories about everyday people fighting back and winning, it’s now. 

Why was it important to include references to some of the ACLU’s most controversial clients, including the Nazis who wanted to march in a neighborhood of Holocaust survivors in Skokie, Illinois and the alt-right protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia?


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