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‘The Trial of Mike Diana’ Looks at the Shocking Prosecution of an American Artist

"Freedom of Speech is something that must be continually fought and won. And, unfortunately, history has a way of repeating itself."

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The Trial of Mike Diana

Logline: Jailed for comics? “The Trial of Mike Diana” explores the untold story of the first US artist charged with obscenity for his work — underground cartoonist Mike Diana.

Elevator Pitch:

Does Freedom of Speech mean anything when authorities see only obscenity? Does an artist’s vision matter when community standards conspire to suppress it? In a small town in Florida in 1994, Mike Diana learned that the answer was a resounding “no.”

His crime? Publishing a hand-made comic zine full of graphic, often hilarious confrontational art, meant to shock and disturb. But it was a zine only sold to adults by mail, never available in stores.

He was jailed and convicted. He was dealt a shocking sentence: he was forbidden from drawing, even for pleasure in his own home.

Production Team:

Director: Frank Henenlotter (“Basket Case,” “Frankenhooker,” “Brain Damage”)
Producer: Anthony Sneed
Producer: Mike Hunchback

About the Film:

It might seem like obscenity charges are a thing of the past but as the recent past has repeatedly shown us, Freedom of Speech is something that must be continually fought and won. And, unfortunately, history has a way of repeating itself.

“The Trial of Mike Diana” is not only an urgent reminder of how authorities can dictate what adults may create, see, and read, but it’s also a multi-faceted celebration of one of the most unique artists of the last 30 years.

Current Status: We are raising funds to conduct our last shoots and to complete post production.

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