On June 8, 2008, Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney will join us at the ACLU Membership Conference for a panel titled, “Rights, Camera, Action,” which will explore the role that film, television, and the arts play in discussions on civil liberties.
At this year’s Academy Awards, Alex took home the Oscar for Best Documentary for Taxi to the Dark Side, a gripping investigation of the reckless abuse of power by the Bush administration. By probing the homicide of an innocent taxi driver at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, the film exposes the administration’s policies that condone indefinite detention, torture and abuse, and the abrogation of human rights. Before Taxi to the Dark Side opened in theaters, Gibney talked with Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project about the film. You can listen to their discussion at our Taxi to the Dark Side page.
Alex has been supportive of the ACLU by regularly participating in our various public education efforts and campaigns.
Last year, PEN American Center and the ACLU co-sponsored Dirty Wars, an evening of readings at Joe’s Pub during the PEN World Voices Festival. The readings highlighted the U.S. government’s unlawful use of torture and cruelty, secret and arbitrary detention, and extraordinary rendition in its counterterrorism efforts. That evening, Alex read from the interrogation logs of Mohammad al-Qahtani, detainee 016, thought to be the 20th hijacker from the 9/11 attacks; you can listen to a podcast of his reading on our Dirty Wars page.
On January 11, 2008, we asked artists and people of conscience to wear orange in support of our Close Guantanamo campaign. Alex said, “I wear orange to remind myself of the reckless, ignorant and arrogant individuals who violated fundamental American values by setting up Guantanamo: a cynical monument to what a world without law would be like.”
When we asked people to continue wearing orange every day until the prison closed, Alex continued his support by wearing an orange ribbon to the Academy Awards, along with Best Actress nominee Julie Christie.
The LA Times wrote about Alex’ Oscar win in their post-Academy Award coverage,and he again spoke of his support of the ACLU.
Stephen Colbert also had something to say about Gibney’s win. And while Colbert may think the Oscars are Destroying America, the ACLU is grateful for Alex’s support on such a personally and professionally momentous occasion, and we’re honored to have him join us in June at the Membership Conference.