Welcome to Advocate + Guardian.
Thank you for participating in this film project. This page is a repository of information for the cast and crew. I wrote this manifesto. Please comment and add to it.
What’s this film about?
The Compass Law Firm represents the poor, the tired, the huddled masses yearning to break free, or at least not go to prison for life. Criminal defense, family law, landlord-tenant disputes, immigration law — the five-woman firm does it all. One day, Rose, the firm’s principal and owner, takes on the defense of an atypical client — a man accused of murdering a woman protesting Confederate monuments. Her associates don’t understand Rose’s motives. Still, the team must endure protests, attacks, and the opprobrium of an angry city to mount a defense for their reprehensible client.
Read the screenplay (link at the bottom of this page) but first read this note:
Advocate + Guardian the movie has changed. It’s still about a scrappy group of lawyers striving for justice. But I am revising the script. Because:
There are some legal errors in the screenplay, which my law advisor pointed out.
Cast changes are necessitating a rewrite.
The events of this story were inspired by the violence surrounding the Charlottesville protests in 2017. In the year since the attack, there was little news of James Alex Fields, Jr., who was accused of murdering Heather Heyer with his car. Since his trial and conviction in December, 2018, it became clear he was a disturbed, malicious individual, and I am aware that some readers will regard my character Leo as a sort of apology for Fields. That was not my intention. I believe art should be free, and also that we are products of our culture. So I’m striving to make Advocate + Guardian free of associations with Fields.
This project is about people of difference.
There should always be two, two different, two opposing.
No one shall be convicted on the testimony of one witness; two or three are required.
So emphasize the two-shot, where the subjects are unbalanced.
Cinema is inclined to juxtapositions, the crashing together of conflicting ideas.
Without two of something, there is no cinema.
Or law. The American legal system is adversarial. Two points of view.
People are first. We are all people.
People with jobs, families, lives.
We are all amateurs, from amare — we love what we do.
But let’s not push it.
Shoots will generally be contained, do-able, in short bursts.
At least we will try.
Production will take a long time — a year?
Please don’t feel wedded to the script. It is a tool if you feel more comfortable with lines.
If you don’t, or if you are one of my first-time cast, we’ll work to blend your improvisations with those who prefer lines. But it may not work. Read about the work of filmmaker David Williams here. We worked together on Thirtreen, and I would like to emulate his technique.
Don’t be anxious. If something doesn’t ring true, I’ll just cut it. David said “Find the film within the film, and you will win.”
We make this for the thrill, for the joy, for the creative
It will take our time, our money, our energy
What if no one sees it?
What if one or two see it?
On YouTube, Vimeo?
On Netflix, Amazon?
On a film festival screen? In wide release?
Will it matter? Does it matter to us?
If not, why are we doing this?
The alternative is to make nothing.
It will be something to show, something to take pride in.
It will show difference, show diversity, show that opposition doesn’t make enemies. We must not be enemies. Though passions strain, they must not break the bonds of affection.
Hatred is everywhere. Hate toward people minding their own business, hate toward the other.
This project shows malice toward none, charity for all, firmness in right as God gives us to see the right.
Let us be two or three.
And here is the (soon to be revised):