Hard-hitting lawyer to Chicago Fest

FESTIVAL. Nicole N. Horanyi tracks the audacious American defence attorney Kimberley Motley at work in the Afghan justice system in "Motley's Law," world premiering at Chicago Film Festival from 15 October. Invited for the New Directors Competition is Rúnar Rúnarsson's feature film "Sparrows."

A former Miss Wisconsin, Kimberley Motley is the only foreign, and the only female, lawyer licensed to litigate in Afghan courts. For two years, Danish director Nicole N. Horanyi followed Motley at work in Kabul, resulting in "Motley's Law," which is making its world premiere at the Chicago Film Festival (15-29 October) in the Documentary Competition. See trailer and Kimberley Motley in TED Talk below

Selected for Chicago's New Directors Competition is Rúnar Rúnarsson's coming-of-age drama "Sparrows," which won the top prize, the Golden Shell for Best Film, at the San Sebastian Film Festival in late September.

Read interview with Rúnar Rúnarsson Reality is a Grayscale and update Sparrows wins San Sebastian top prize.

About Motley's Law

"Kimberley is an incredibly multifaceted person," says director Nicole N. Horanyi about her protagonist, who made great sacrifices to get where she is. Kimberley Motley's three children, aged five, eight and sixteen, live in North Carolina and she sees them only two-three months a year.

"This complex image of a woman was what attracted me. How do you live your life in two such different worlds – between a warzone and family life?" says the director.

Initially, Motley's decision to become a defence attorney in Afghanistan was financially motivated. But gradually the underdeveloped Afghan justice system, the absence of women's rights and the ubiquitous corruption stoked her desire to fight for justice in the country. But time is running out. No one knows what's in store for the Afghans once the last international forces are pulled out. After five years in Afghanistan, threats and the general conditions are making it increasingly difficult for Motley to go on.

Nicole N. Horanyi has directed "The Devilles" (2009), about the difficult love between an American burlesque dancer and her punk rocker husband, and "Au Pair" (2011), a story of three Philippine girls who leave their families behind to make a better future for themselves abroad. Both films screened at a number of international festivals.

"Motley's Law" is produced by Helle Faber for Made in Copenhagen and will be making its European premiere later in November at the two big doc fests CPH:DOX and IDFA.

Read our IDFA update

Chicago Film Festival 15-29 October

Watch trailer

Watch TEDGlobal Talk