True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality (HBO)
True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality is a portrait of the life and legal defense work of attorney Bryan Stevenson in representing the incarcerated poor and falsely accused victims of a racist judicial system in Alabama and the Deep South. Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and led the creation of its National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a memorial to the thousands of victims of racial terror lynching, both based in Montgomery. Produced and directed by Peter Kunhardt, George Kunhardt, and Teddy Kunhardt, and executive produced by Trey Ellis, the film eschews traditional bio-doc or hero’s journey tropes, focusing intensely instead on Stevenson’s central arguments as he talks straight to camera. As great trial attorneys do, Stevenson leads viewers—the ultimate jury—toward an understanding of the role the courts have played in crafting a narrative of racial difference and in constructing a racial hierarchy in America. Through that narrative and the documentary we see how the American judicial system itself is historically and directly accountable for sustaining racial violence, white supremacy, and the exploitation of black people. Stevenson makes the irrefutable case for the direct line drawn from enslavement to lynching to the death penalty, and ultimately the criminalization of being black. For helping viewers understand how the courts and law enforcement have been at the forefront of creating, codifying, and perpetuating racial inequality throughout American history, and for bearing witness to the dedication of the remarkable man working to free the victims of this system, True Justice receives a Peabody.
Executive Producers: Jacqueline Glover, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller (For HBO); Trey Ellis, Peter Kunhardt (For Kunhardt Films). Producers: Peter Kunhardt, George Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt, Maya Mumma, ACE. Archival producer: Jill Cowan. Directors: Peter Kunhardt, George Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt. Editor: Maya Mumma, ACE. Sound Editor & Re-recording Mixer: Christopher Koch, CAS. Cinematography: Clair Popkin. Sound / Music: Music by Osei Essed.