Action star Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Avengers) delves into the shadowy world of investigative journalism as Gary Webb, the real-life journalist who remains one of the most controversial of our times. In the vein of “All the President’s Men,” this thriller follows Webb’s allegations that the CIA supported Nicaraguan contra efforts through the importation of crack cocaine into American cities. Threatened against releasing his evidence, in 1996 Webb nevertheless wrote a three-part series in the San Jose Mercury News — paying for it with his reputation and ultimately his life.
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have the assistance of counsel for his defense” — Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. But with 15,000 public defenders for 12 million arrests per year, this unalienable right becomes a civil rights battle for those unable to afford a lawyer. “Gideon’s Army” follows three of its soldiers as they navigate the emotional and personal strain of handling hundreds of cases at once, simultaneously introducing viewers to defendants and their struggle — frightening, heartbreaking, and inspiring — for equality in the courtroom.
The first Investigative Film Festival in the United States aims to facilitate discourse about the marriage of media and journalism and its impact on the issues of today. Free community screenings will be provided throughout September and the Festival will take place September 30-October 2 at the National Portrait Gallery.