The ACLU and Robert Greenwald to Tell the Stories Behind the Headlines in New 10-Part Series: The ACLU Freedom Files

August 16, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: media@aclu.org

Series To Reach National Audience Via Satellite Link TV, New Media, Technology And Grassroots Networks

Preview on http://www.aclu.tv

NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union and award-winning producer/director Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films today announced an unprecedented new series entitled The ACLU Freedom Files.

In ten 30-minute episodes produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Kagan, the series will explore pressing issues that are threatening the civil liberties of all Americans, regardless of political affiliation. The show will reach millions of viewers via satellite network Link TV, on college campuses across the country on Zilo TV, and via new media, technology and grassroots networks such as video blogs, podcasts, streaming video, viewing parties, screenings and more.

Aiming to strip away the sound bytes to reveal how civil liberties affect real people everyday, The ACLU Freedom Files features real clients and the attorneys who defend them, as well as well-known actors, activists and comedians.

"Effects of overreaching laws like the Patriot Act or Supreme Court decisions are often talked about in abstract terms, but there is a very real human face to these issues that tends to get lost in the rhetoric," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "The ACLU Freedom Files will go behind the headlines to tell their stories."

"The critical work that the ACLU is doing is the stuff of real drama," said Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films, executive producer of the series. "These are regular people, people who could be a neighbor, who have found themselves fighting to defend their constitutionally-guaranteed rights. These are important and powerful stories that we need to tell."

During the first week in September, The ACLU Freedom Files launches with the premiere episode "Beyond The Patriot Act." As the House and Senate versions of the Patriot Act go to conference to create a final bill to be presented to the President, "Beyond The Patriot Act" highlights the importance of this legislation and urges members of Congress to take the time to act sensibly and bring the law back in line with the Constitution by restoring proper checks and balances.

The ACLU Freedom Files will air the second Thursday of each month across the country at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and again at 8:00 p.m. on the West Coast. Utilizing what Greenwald refers to as "moving media," the dynamic new series will use interviews, documentary, comedy, drama, music and animation to directly engage and alert viewers to the importance of the issues currently facing the American public. Greenwald serves as series executive producer and Jeremy Kagan as co-executive producer. Series topics will include the Patriot Act, the Supreme Court, free speech and dissent, religious freedom, gay and lesbian rights, drug policy, racial profiling, women's rights, and youth freedoms. The ACLU Freedom Files will premiere on Link TV, the first nationwide television channel dedicated to providing Americans with global perspectives on news, events and culture. Link TV is available to over 26 million U.S. homes that receive direct broadcast satellite television through DIRECTV and DISH Network satellite services. The ACLU Freedom Files will also be broadcast on Zilo TV, the college television network that provides programming to over 5.5 million college students nationwide.

On the Web, The ACLU Freedom Files will foster a new kind of "information activism" with the launch of its website http://www.aclu.tv. Like a DVD with extra features, the site will provide vital issue information for viewers, advocates and anyone who wants to learn more about civil liberties. It will also foster grassroots activism online and offline and educate teachers and students through curriculum guides and campus coordinator toolkits. The ACLU Freedom Files will also cultivate a grassroots network of podcasters, video bloggers and other web-savvy multimedia producers, to help pioneer new forms of "Do-It-Yourself" audio and video activism online.

Combining real stories and dynamic storytelling will create a powerful emotional effect that, Greenwald and Romero predict, will motivate viewers to action. Around each episode, the ACLU will hold screenings, house parties and events across the country. In addition, Zilo TV will produce and promote viewing parties featuring the series at select colleges and universities across the country.

DVDs of individual episodes of The ACLU Freedom Files will be made immediately available for purchase and information about each episode will also be available to the 1.2 million unique visitors to the ACLU website and more than 300,000 subscribers to its bi-weekly newsletter and Action Network alerts.

The ACLU Freedom Files features personal stories of average Americans, an entertaining format and the guiding vision of a respected and award-winning filmmaker. Through the powerful reach of satellite TV, blogs and the Internet, the ACLU hopes to introduce more Americans, in particular young people and people living in rural America, to the ACLU's message of individual freedom and liberty.

For more information, visit:

The ACLU Freedom Files: http://www.aclu.tv

Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films: http://www.bravenewfilms.org/who.php

Jeremy Kagan: http://www.swanllc.com/jeremykaganbio.html

Anthony Romero: /cpredirect/13279

Link TV: http://linktv.com/about/background.php3

 

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