Documentaries

PRM produces public affairs documentaries and discussion programs for television and radio.

Our program library also includes several documentaries produced by ETS Pictures, Ltd. from 1996-2007. These films have aired on PBS, the Bravo Channel, the IFC Channel, and at film festivals worldwide.

The programs in our documentary collection are available for individual and institutional sale. Please contact us for more information.

Open Source: Citizen Activism and Public PolicyOpen Source: Citizen Activism and Public Policy
One hour television documentary/discussion program
Television release date: 2011




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Democracy in America does not end at the voting booth door. Every day, scores of citizens work alongside their elected counterparts in the formulation and creation of public policy. Episode one of “Open Source” explores how individual citizens engage in policy making, and provides an overview of the challenges – and opportunities – that they face.
Intent: Searching For Meaning In The ConstitutionIntent: Searching For Meaning In The Constitution
One hour television documentary
Television release date: 2007
Radio release date: 2006



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What does the United States Constitution tell us about the defining political issues of our day? And how do we interpret the document to find those answers? This one hour documentary examines the meaning of the Constitution through the lens of several interpretive perspectives, and it investigates how differing views of the document impact today’s political debates. In order to illustrate the impact of Constitutional interpretation on the real world, “Intent” focuses on four case studies. From medical marijuana, to warrantless wiretapping, to gun control laws, to “eminent domain” land seizures, “Intent” examines Constitutional tensions between individual liberty, and government authority. Program interviews range across the political spectrum – from Elliot Mincberg of People For The American Way, to Roger Pilon of the CATO Institute, to the American Conservative Union’s David Keene. Noted academics such as George Washington Law School’s Mary Cheh also make appearances.

‘Intent’ is available in both a radio and television format.
The Moussaoui Case RevisitedThe Moussaoui Case Revisited
Short form television documentary
Release date: 2006




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This short documentary segment opened the TPT broadcast of a 2006 William Mitchell National Security Forum event. Hosted by Professor John Radsan, the National Security Forum provides a venue for discussions of legal issues related to national security. In the fall of 2006, the Forum held a round-table conversation with principals from the Zacharias Moussaoui investigation and prosecution. This event marked the first time that prosecutor Rob Spencer and defense attorney Edward MacMahon had spoken publicly about the case since the trial. ETS Pictures produced this short documentary segment to provide background about the Moussaoui case.
Behind the Badge: Ethics in Police WorkBehind the Badge: Ethics in Police Work
30 minute educational video
Release date: 2005




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Behind the Badge” examines the complex realities of police work through interviews with current and former law enforcement officials including Mike Quinn (Minneapolis police, retired), John Harrington (chief, Saint Paul police department), and Coleen Rowley (FBI agent, retired). The program examines ethical issues in the law enforcement arena, but it also speaks to larger ethical considerations that confront members of all professions.
Urban WarriorUrban Warrior
A 50 minute television documentary
Release date: 2002




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Within recent years, the formerly bright line separating U.S. military operations from domestic police work has become increasingly blurred. From Waco, to the WTO protests, tactics once reserved for wartime combat are being used in domestic law enforcement operations with increasing frequency.

The United States has traditionally recognized a separation of the roles and jurisdictions of its police and military forces. However, during the 1980s and 90s, the Pentagon began supplying both military training and surplus military hardware to domestic law enforcement agencies. Paramilitary SWAT teams, utilizing urban combat tactics, sub-machine guns, and armored personnel carriers, now exist in 90% of American cities with a population of 50,000 or more. Since the terror attacks of 9-11, new calls have been made to involve the military in domestic affairs, and to further eliminate the traditional fire walls that have long separated these two entities.

Urban Warrior casts a critical eye on this trend, investigating the impact of military-style police work on civil liberties, and examining case studies ranging from the WTO protests, to the Elian Gonzales raid.

“… rational and evenhanded examination of the evolution of the modern police force from a protectionist model, to a military model.” – The Seattle Stranger

Security and the ConstitutionSecurity and the Constitution
One hour television documentary
Release date: 2004




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In the years since 9-11, the debate over the proper balance between national security and civil liberties has taken center stage in American political discourse.

“Security and the Constitution” investigates the ongoing debate over the extents and limits of freedom and security. This made for PBS documentary examines constitutional issues stemming from post-9/11 security initiatives – including the PATRIOT Act, changes to FBI investigative guidelines, and the historic Jose Padilla “enemy combatant” case. The program provides a comprehensive look at major post-9/11 security policies, and showcases multiple perspectives on these controversial issues.

Interviews feature current and former law enforcement, military, and intelligence personnel, including former CIA director Stansfield Turner, and FBI special agent Coleen Rowley. The program also contains interviews with leading civil libertarians and legal scholars, including Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, Tim Lynch of the CATO Institute, and Donna Newman, defense lawyer in the Jose Padilla case.

Throughout American history, times of crisis and conflict have triggered struggles over governmental power. In addition to examining contemporary issues, this program investigates the historical back-story to the modern debate – looking to World War II, the Civil War, and the tumult of the 1960s, to seek the lessons of history.

AccessAccess
50 minute television documentary
Release date: 2000




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In its three-plus decades of existence, cable access television has grown into a uniquely American institution – part soap box, part party-line, part activist network – where people from across the political and social spectrum come together out of a shared desire to be heard. “Access” is a documentary journey into the colliding American realities that make up the cable access television world, and a chronicle of the lives and works of three personalities who inhibit it: itinerant preacher Homer Giles, “Militiaman” Mark Hanson, and perennial political candidate Richard “A-Bomb” Klatte.

“Using a studiously droll, Errol Morris-like style … Ehling zooms in on a trio of natural-born hams spreading their gospels through ETS Channel 33 … The filmmaker’s underlying respect for these camera cravers – whose passion for broadcasting puts most professionals to shame – makes this one of the smartest and most entertaining local films to come out in a year.” – City Pages
Taking Liberties
One hour radio documentary
Release date: 2006

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Taking Liberties” is a one hour documentary that examines the impact of four decades of national security and law enforcement policy on the Bill of Rights. From the Drug War to the War on Terror, government actions have raised concerns about challenges to the individual liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. “Taking Liberties” examines this confluence, with commentary from across the political spectrum – from Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, to Nancy Chang of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Taking Liberties” also includes interviews with journalists and academics who have examined the Constitutional and policy issues that underlie this phenomenon.

“Taking Liberties” also exists as an on-line resource, linking documentary interviews from several ETS Pictures programs with historical and Constitutional analysis. This site provides a searchable resource that chronicles debates and controversies regarding civil liberties issues, from the 1960s to the present.
Declassified Radio Transcripts
Broadcast radio series dealing with national security, law enforcement, and intelligence issues. Produced by ETS Pictures from 1999-2002. Transcripts are available here.

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