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Louisiana Public Broadcasting, in partnership with the Southern University Law Center, presented a virtual preview screening of Philly D.A. on Monday, April 12 at 6PM.

This special virtual screening event previews Philly D.A., a docuseries set in the office of the Philadelphia District Attorney, Larry Krasner, over course of three years. The series follows unapologetic reformer Krasner and his team as they transform the criminal justice system from the inside. Philly D.A. marks the most ambitious episodic project to date for Independent Lens.

Following LPB’s virtual preview screening of Philly D.A., hear from expert panelists who discussed the film preview. The conversation wasmoderated by Robyn Merrick, Vice President of External Affairs for the Southern University System. Panelists for the Philly D.A. preview screening are: Angela A. Allen-Bell, Associate Professor, B. K. Agnihotri Endowed Professor, Southern University Law Center; Kelly G. Carmena, Criminal Clinic Supervising Attorney, Southern University Law Center; and Alanah Odoms, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana, who are joined by special guest Josh Penn, New Orleans-based filmmaker and producer of Philly D.A.

Thank you to The Promise of Justice Initiative for supporting this event.

More about the film, Philly D.A.:

In 2017, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had one of the highest incarceration rates of any major city in the United States. And it’s become the epicenter of a historic experiment that could shape the future of prosecution in America for decades to come. When civil rights attorney Larry Krasner mounted a long-shot campaign to become District Attorney, he ran on a bold pledge: to end mass incarceration by changing the culture of the criminal justice system from within. He shocked the establishment by winning in a landslide.

Now, the bureaucrats he spent his campaign denigrating are his co-workers; the police he alienated are his rank-and-file law enforcers. Pressure comes from all sides of a system resistant to reform. Krasner’s unapologetic promise to use the power of the D.A.’s office for sweeping change is what got him elected; now that he’s in office, that same stubbornness threatens to alienate those he needs to work with the most.

From the eye of this political storm, filmmakers Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, and Nicole Salazar gained unprecedented access into Krasner’s office and behind the scenes of the criminal justice system. Over the course of eight episodes, Philly D.A. explores the most pressing social issues of our time—police brutality, the opioid crisis, gun violence, and mass incarceration—through the lens of an idealistic team attempting fundamental overhaul from within the system.

About Independent Lens

Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS on Monday nights. The acclaimed series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. For more visit pbs.org/independentlens.

Our Event Host:

Robyn Merrick is Southern University's Vice President for External Affairs in Baton Rouge.

Robyn previously provided leadership for the University’s 90,000 alumni serving as Director of Alumni Affairs and Executive Director of the Southern University Alumni Federation. Also at Southern, Robyn co-hosted the University’s radio show, Inside the Southern University System, and is the former co-managing editor of the Southern University System Magazine. Through her career in higher education, she has held several administrative positions as Executive Associate to the President, Director of Public Affairs, and Policy Development Coordinator. Robyn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Masters in Public Administration, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy. She has conducted and published research in the areas of women in government and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

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Our Panelists:

Josh Penn is a producer with the Department of Motion Pictures.

Josh Penn is a New Orleans-based filmmaker and producer of Philly D.A. He produced BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, which won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, the Cannes Caméra d'Or, and was nominated for four Academy Awards (including Best Picture). In addition, Josh was nominated for Outstanding Producer at the 2013 Producer's Guild Awards. He has produced MONSTERS AND MEN (Sundance Special Jury Prize), the live documentary A THOUSAND THOUGHTS, WENDY, and FAREWELL AMOR among others. He was an Executive Producer on PATTI CAKE$, WESTERN (Sundance Special Jury Prize), THE GREAT INVISIBLE (SXSW Grand Jury Prize), and BLOODY NOSE EMPTY POCKETS. Josh and the DMP had three films premiere at Sundance 2020, and three more in Sundance 2021: PHILLY D.A. (a documentary series), USERS, and 7 SOUNDS.

In 2018, Josh was accepted as a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences. Outside of his work in film, Josh was previously the Michigan New Media Director for President Obama's 2008 campaign and a Senior Digital Program Manager for the 2012 re-election campaign.



Angela A. Allen-Bell - Associate Professor, B.K. Agnihotri Endowed Professor, Southern University

Angela A. Allen-Bell, Associate Professor, B.K. Agnihotri Endowed Professor, Southern University Law Center

Professor Bell is a respected local, national and international legal scholar and expert on civil and human rights, social and restorative justice and the interplay between race and justice. It was her research that catapulted the recent movement that, in November 2018, successfully ended the use of non-unanimous juries in Louisiana. And she is one of the founding members of the advocacy team that led this effort to reform Louisiana’s jury system through the adoption of legislation that would require unanimous juries in criminal trials in Louisiana state courts. She has the distinction of having worked on several other historic advocacy campaigns, such as the Angola 3 case, the case of Soledad Brother John Clutchette and the case of Robert Holbrook. The House of Representatives of the Legislature of Louisiana has commended her “for her achievements as a legal scholar” and has recognized and recorded “the tremendous pride and honor that she brings” to the state of Louisiana.

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Kelly G. Carmena - Clinical Professor In The Criminal Law Clinic, Southern University

Kelly G. Carmena, Clinical Professor In The Criminal Law Clinic, Southern University Law Center

Kelly G. Carmena joined the SULC faculty in 2014 as a clinical professor in the Criminal Law Clinic. Prior to joining the faculty, she worked with the East Baton Rouge Parish Office of Public Defender as a felony and misdemeanor assistant public defender. During her five year term with the Public Defender’s Office, she served as lead counsel on a multitude of felony matters including second degree murder, aggravated and forcible rape, distribution charges and armed robbery, as well as numerous misdemeanor matters.

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Alanah Odoms - Executive Director, ACLU of Louisiana

Alanah Odoms, Executive Director, ACLU of Louisiana

Alanah Odoms is a civil rights leader, mother, and a professional and spiritual support to countless activists across Louisiana and beyond. As the first Black woman to lead the ACLU of Louisiana in its 65 year history, she has answered the call to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by challenging systemic racial and gender injustice – vestiges of slavery displayed most prominently in Louisiana’s epidemic of mass incarceration, immigrant detention and deportation, and racist policing across the state.

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Philly D. A. | Trailer

His promise to use the power of the District Attorney’s office for sweeping reform is what got civil rights attorney Larry Krasner elected. Now, that stubborn idealism threatens to alienate those he needs to work with the most. Go inside the tumultuous first term of Philadelphia’s unapologetic D.A. and his team of outsiders as they attempt to change the criminal justice system from the inside.

More about Philly D. A.


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Independent Lens | Coded Bias | Virtual Preview & Conversation | Monday, March 15, 2021 6PM - 7:30PM www.lpb.org/codedbias | LPB in partnership with Southern University Law Center | ITVS, CPB, PBS, MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts

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