Center for American Progress

Filmmaker Ed Zwick and Storytelling to Drive Policy Change

Filmmaker Ed Zwick and Storytelling to Drive Policy Change

This week, Daniella and Ed spoke with filmmaker Edward Zwick to discuss his new project, "Trial by Fire," as well as the ways in which movies and popular culture can help advance policy change.

You may know Ed Zwick from some of his work directing and producing past films such as “Glory,” “Blood Diamond,” and “Shakespeare in Love”—the latter of which won him an Academy Award. But Zwick’s latest project hits differently. “Trial by Fire,” which arrives in select theaters on May 17, tells the story of Cameron Todd Willingham, a Texas man executed for the murder by arson of his three children after the courts ignored scientific evidence and expert testimony that supported his claims of innocence. Zwick sat down with Daniella and Ed to discuss why he chose to direct this latest film—which he describes as a catalog of everything broken in the criminal justice system—and how movies and popular culture affect, and often precipitate, change

Learn more about the podcast here.

Daniella Gibbs Léger is the executive vice president for Communications and Strategy at the Center for American Progress. Ed Chung is the vice president for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center. Kyle Epstein is the media relations manager at the Center. Chris Ford is the broadcast coordinator at the Center.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Daniella Gibbs Léger

Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategy


Ed Chung

Senior Fellow

Kyle Epstein

Manager, Media Relations

Chris Ford

Broadcast Manager