003 – In this episode, we interview Susan Saladoff, director of the 2011 documentary, Hot Coffee. Susan made a 26 minute short about the Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants case, which ultimately led to the full length documentary “Hot Coffee”. The film’s goal is to educate viewers about the current issues with tort reform and several other issues with the United States legal system.
Much like “The Wire” taught us about the drug problem starting with street corners and expanding outwards; so too, does Hot Coffee attempt to show how the legal system has been contaminated on all levels.
Host Matt and Susan talk for almost an hour with subjects including:
- What compelled Susan to make this movie.
- How her trial lawyer experience prepped her to make a documentary.
- How she learned that “There are no rules!”
- Her plan to get the movie into Sundance and on HBO.
- How the 4 major cases came together to form the basic structure of the movie.
- How she got John Grisham to agree to be a part of her film.
- How to “lighten up” some very serious subject matter.
- How she has dealt with backlash from “the other side”.
- Her next project, a feature film about the Judge Diaz story.
Geek Out With Show Notes
Hot Coffee – Hot Coffee official website.
Comedy Central clip – Susan on The Stephen Colbert Show.
Jamie Leigh Jones update – A Mother Jones article on the Jamie Leigh Jones rape case.
Joan Claybrook – Attorney, Former head of consumer rights advocacy group, Public Citizen. Also, head of NHTSA under President Carter.
George Lakoff– Author of “Don’t Think Of An Elephant”.
Paul Bland – Executive Director, Public Justice.
Fractured Atlas – Where you can donate to the production of the Oliver Diaz movie, which begins production in July 2016.
Circumstance – Film made my Maryam that won the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.
How It Got Made
To further educate our audience about how these documentaries get finished. We will include the equipment and software used to make the movie happen. Susan told us: