From Director Martha Davis
Expert Witness tells the story of some remarkable health professionals who have fought state-sponsored torture despite the personal risk. In honoring their professional obligation to report abuse and protect torture victims, they are a special group of expert witnesses.
This is the third documentary I have made about health professionals and torture. The first, Interrogation Psychologists: The Making of a Professional Crisis (2008), focuses on how officials of the American Psychological Association crafted a new policy with army and intelligence officials that supported psychologist involvement in detainee interrogations. It documents the growing opposition to psychologist complicity in the U.S. torture program. Today the APA scandal is making headlines.
It was clear from declassified documents that the doctors used to monitor and legitimize “enhanced interrogation techniques” were physicians as well as psychologists. This larger story needed a feature-length film. I am a psychologist whose filmmaking experience was limited to educational videos. Fortunately, I found a wonderful production team of award-winning professionals. Doctors of the Dark Side, completed in 2011, is widely available in the United States and abroad (www.doctorsofthedarkside.com). While producing Doctors of the Dark Side, I also interviewed some doctors who have fought torture. These heroic doctors are now featured in Expert Witness and the trilogy is complete.
Mercedes Ruehl, the Academy Award winning actress, narrated both Doctors of the Dark Side and Expert Witness. In 2013 Mercedes and Kristine Huskey, then the director of the Anti-Torture Program of Physicians for Human Rights, did a dramatic reading for the ACLU Crowdsourced Film Project directed by Doug Liman. Watch Mercedes and Kristine nail this exchange between Scott Paley of 60 Minutes and former CIA Director George Tenet. — Martha Davis