In Doug Liman’s film Reckoning With Torture, ordinary Americans stand side-by-side with actors, writers, and former military interrogators and intelligence officers in a reading of official documents that reveal the scope and cost of America’s post-9/11 torture program.

Lincoln Center, NY, May 2011

History of the Project

In September 2009, the ACLU and PEN American Center staged the first Reckoning With Torture at The Cooper Union in New York. In March 2010, a second performance of Reckoning With Torture was staged in Washington DC. In late 2010, Doug Liman joined the Reckoning With Torture project. As he explained at the time,

“I signed on to the Reckoning project because I am convinced that the struggle for accountability for torture is one of the major moral tests of our lifetimes, and I was impressed by the power of the material to persuade and move live audiences.”

In January 2011, Liman and his producer Avram Ludwig staged and filmed a live Reckoning performance at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. In May 2011, Liman staged and filmed another Reckoning With Torture performance at Lincoln Center in New York. In January 2012, Doug Liman, the ACLU, and PEN American Center issued a national call for footage, inviting citizens across the country to submit their own readings for the Reckoning With Torture film.

Past Participants


The Reckoning With Torture Team

Doug Liman, Director

Doug Liman has become acknowledged as one of the most vibrant and original voices in American film with a solid track record of critically acclaimed features, including The Bourne Identity (director-producer), Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Jumper, Swingers, Go, and Fair Game. He has directed several TV pilots and produced hit TV series including “The O.C.” and “Covert Affairs,” and has directed campaign films for Howard Dean in 2000 and commercials for Barack Obama in 2008. He traveled to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake to shoot footage for Quincy Jones’s “We Are the World” music video, and in 2010 directed commercials for Feeding America. Liman serves on the board of the Legal Action Center and the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School.

Avram Ludwig, Producer

Noted for his collaborations with directors Doug Liman and Amos Kollek, Avram Ludwig’s most notable productions have included: Swingers and Fair Game. He is in preproduction on George Orwell’s first novel, Burmese Days, to be shot on location in the Far East starring Ralph Finnes. He is developing Attica, Attica! with Liman about the famed prison insurrection in Upstate New York in 1971 and recently directed the successful political commercial, “America the Beautiful,” against the Ryan Plan to privatize Medicare, depicting Paul Ryan throwing Grandma off the cliff.

Ron Len, Film Editor

Ron Len is a film editor with over 15 years of experience in a wide variety of genres. He has been recognized as an outstanding editor in his field in both long and short form. Len’s work ranges from feature films and documentaries to short films and television commercials. All told, he has edited films that have appeared at over 150 film festivals around the world, garnering numerous Best Feature awards. Some of those films include He Said, She Said, directed by Doug Liman, Just Like You Imagined? directed by David Frankel, Who I Am, directed by Jesse Peretz, Jailbait, written and directed by Brett C. Leonard, War Eagle, Arkansas, directed by Robert Milazzo and Particles of Truth, directed by Jennifer Elster.

Jameel Jaffer, Executive Producer

Jameel Jaffer is a Deputy Legal Director at the American Civil Liberties Union and Director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, which houses the ACLU’s work on national security, human rights, free speech, privacy, and technology. Since joining the staff of the ACLU in 2002 as a staff attorney, Jaffer has litigated cases concerning detention, interrogation, extrajudicial killing, surveillance, and secrecy – including constitutional challenges to the USA Patriot Act, the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, and the CIA’s targeted killing program. Jaffer was also one of the architects of ACLU v. Department of Defense, a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act that led to the release of the “torture memos” and thousands of other records relating to the Bush administration’s interrogation policies. He has twice testified before the U.S. Congress about civil liberties issues relating to national security, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, SalonSocial Research, and Index on Censorship. His book, Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record From Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond (co-edited with Amrit Singh), was published by Columbia University Press in 2007.

Larry Siems, Executive Producer

Larry Siems directs the Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Torture Report: What the Documents Say about America’s Post-9/11 Torture Program and the principle author of TheTortureReport.org. A poet and a nonfiction writer, his other publications include the collection Between the Lines: Letters between Undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans and their Families and Friends.

Leily Kleinbard, Production Coordinator and Web Manager

In addition to her work on Reckoning With Torture, Leily Kleinbard is an Associate Editor of PEN America: A Journal for Writers and Readers, where she has worked for the past two years since graduating from Davidson College in 2010.

Ateqah Khaki, Communications and Advocacy Strategist

Ateqah Khaki is Senior Communications Strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union. She produced the ACLU video interview series “Justice Denied: Voices from Guantánamo,” and founded the site MyBestFriendIsMuslim.com. Khaki was profiled as part of Women Working to Do Good, a collaboration between the White House and Hello Giggles.

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