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William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

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PBS Premiere: June 22, 2010


William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe examines the life of this radical attorney from a surprising angle. Kunstler’s two daughters from his second marriage grew up lionizing a man already famous for his historic civil rights and anti-war cases. Then, in their teens, they began to be disillusioned by a stubborn man who continued representing some of the most reviled defendants in America — this time accused rapists and terrorists. In this intimate biography, Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler seek to recover the real story of what made their late father one of the most beloved, and hated, lawyers in America. Winner of the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Vision Award, 2009 Sundance Film Festival. A co-production of ITVS.

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TAGS: attorney, black panthers, criminal justice, family history, law, race

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Film Information

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (90 min.)

Premiere Date: June 22, 2010

Streaming Dates: Expired

Photos: Download Here

Trailer: Link | Embed

Filmmakers: Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler Bio | Interview | Statement

Press: Press Release | Critical Acclaim | Filmmaker Statement


Emily Kunstler
Emily Kunstler
Sarah Kunstler
Sarah Kunstler

While our father lived in front of news cameras, we found our place behind the lens. We hope our film communicates that the world we inherit is better because someone struggled for justice, and that those changes will survive only if we continue to fight.”

— Sarah Kunstler, Filmmaker


Film Update

Critical Acclaim

This is a wonderful, inspiring film.”

— Howard Zinn

Terrific archival footage from a range of seminal civil rights events, as well as affecting narration written by Sarah Kunstler and spoken by Emily Kunstler (who also edited the film), round out this superior documentary.”

— Gary Goldstein,
The Los Angeles Times

A refresher course on the history of American left-wing politics in the 1960s and ’70s.”

— Stephen Holding,
The New York Times

The documentary is expertly put together and never less than compelling. It's a labor of love that helps restore the reputation of a significant player on the American stage in the last half of the 20th century.”

Hollywood Reporter

The film's point is clear. And for those looking for a straight answer, it's this: The bravest lawyer isn't the one who takes on the clients that allow him to feel good about himself. It's the one who takes on the clients that give us nightmares.”

— Michael O'Sullivan,
The Washington Post

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