HBO has picked up American TV rights to Gideon’s Army (pictured), the anticipated forthcoming documentary from former A&E exec Dawn Porter, which looks at public defenders in the U.S.
The project was realscreen‘s top pick from the projects pitched during the 2011 Hot Docs Forum, and has financial backing from the Ford Foundation. It also received the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award for Documentary last April.
The film is being directed by Porter and follows a number of public defenders in the American south during their first years of practice, showing the emotional and practical difficulties they face.
“A lot of great things have happened after we brought the film to the Tribeca Film Institute and the Hot Docs Forum [last year],” Porter told realscreen.
“My producer Julie Goldman showed footage to Jackie Glover and Nancy Abraham at HBO, and we all met with Sheila Nevins and they came onboard as the U.S. broadcaster, which is incredibly exciting.
“Matt Hamachek [If a Tree Falls, Racing Dreams] is editing, and the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms has continued its spectacular support. We are wrapping up production now and expect to be done editing in the spring. It feels like all the pieces are coming together so well.”
The film’s title refers to the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the landmark case of Gideon vs. Wainwright, which ruled that defendants in felony cases who cannot afford a lawyer must be provided one.
In addition to Gideon’s Army, Porter – through her indie Trilogy Films – is also producing a title called Spies of Mississippi for Smithsonian Networks.
That film looks at the state of Mississippi’s historical efforts to undermine the civil rights movement using a vast network of spies. Previously, Porter directed a documentary about celebrity Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli for the Cooking Channel.
Check out a work-in-progress trailer for Gideon’s Army here: