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Plays in DC[FRAME] Program: Changemakers
Sunday, June 16
12:15 PM - 1:45 PM

Landmark E-Street Cinema

555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

Public Defender


Andrea Kalin


Andrea Kalin, Ethan Oser, Kate Woodsome, Liz Gilbert Cohen, Janice Engel


Thomas Niles


Ethan Oser

Heather Shaner, a feisty blue-haired public defender in Washington, DC, has spent 40 years representing people who can’t afford a lawyer. Her empathy hits a limit when a violent mob supporting outgoing President Donald Trump storms the US Capitol.

She is assigned to represent Jack Griffith, a social media influencer, and Annie Howell, a single mother and painter. As Heather gets to know her clients, she discovers Jack and Annie have been deceived by misinformation and thought they’d joined a righteous defense of democracy, not an authoritarian wave.

Public Defender explores the delicate state of US democracy, the people tearing it apart, and those trying to protect it. When trust is lost, Heather, Jack, and Annie show how people can find each other’s humanity across personal, political, and social divides.

Director, Public Defender

Andrea Kalin is an award-winning filmmaker and founder of Spark Media, a production company dedicated to programs with a social conscience. Kalin’s storytelling has earned her over 100 awards and honors, including a Primetime Emmy, two Gracies, a CHRIS Award, and Golden Globe and WGA nominations. Her work has been shown theatrically and at film festivals worldwide, including Hot Docs, Woodstock Film Festival, and Human Rights Watch Film Festival. It has been distributed by global broadcasters and streaming platforms such as Smithsonian, MTV, HBO, PBS’s WORLD Channel, Amazon, Apple TV, Tubi, and Deutsche Welle. Her latest film, Scattering CJ, premiered at the Camden International Film Festival and aired on PBS in September 2022. She has produced 12 feature documentaries and scores of advocacy shorts. Kalin’s debut documentary, Partners of the Heart, aired on PBS’s American Experience, won the Erik Barnouw Award for Best History Doc, and is part of the NEH50, a list of the most culturally significant projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Kalin seeks unexpected, gripping human stories that shape who we are and how we see our world. Her spirited storytelling inspires audiences and sparks imagination.