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Defendant 5
Director:Heidi Lee Douglas
Producer:Smith & Nasht
Country / Region:Australia
Particular year:2014
Length of time:30 Minutes

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When a youngfilmmaker documents the destruction of Tasmania’s ancient forests she is sweptup in a multi-million dollar legal battle that challenges the right to freespeech.

Young filmmaker Heidi Lee Douglas goes to Tasmania to make a documentaryabout the destruction of the island’s ancient forests. As anti-logging protestsescalate, logging giant Gunns Ltd reacts to public pressure by suing Heidi and19 others for $6.4 million for allegedly conspiring to destroy the company’sbusiness. When Heidi discovers Gunns wants to use her footage as evidence tosupport its claims, she faces a crisis of conscience. Heidi’s response is toturn the camera on herself to document her personal struggle as she goes intobattle against a corporation out of control.

Defendant5 is Heidi’s first television commission. Heidi’s previous short films have beennominated and awarded in film festivals around the world, including screeningsat Fantastic Fest (USA), New York City Independent Film Festival (USA), DungogFestival (Aus), Melbourne Underground Film Festival (Aus), Stranger With MyFace Film Festival (Aus), Aotearoa Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival (NZ),International Wildlife Film Festival (USA), Forest Film Festival (USA), EarthVision International Environmental Film Festival (USA), Exploding Cinema (Aus),and Wild Spaces Environmental Film Festival (Aus). Heidi has provided videoproduction training and made content with remote Aboriginal communities across Australiafrom the Pilbara to Arnhem Land, Cape York, arid South Australia and Flinders Island,and with communities in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. Her early careerexperience includes her role as in-house filmmaker at The Wilderness Societymaking documentaries about environmental issues of national significance. Heidiwas cinematographer on the drama film Muffled that screened at the PalmsSprings Short Film Festival, Chicago Reeling Festival, and Newfest - New York'spremier LGBT Film Festival. Heidi wrote and directed the short gothic thrillerfilm Little Lamb about a convict woman in 1829 Van Diemen's Land. Supported byScreen Australia and Wide Angle Tasmania through the Raw Nerve Initiative,Little Lamb had its International Premiere at Fantastic Fest 2014 in AustinTexas, the biggest international genre film festival in the United States.