Leading Academic Scholars, Historians, Authors Join Historical Documentary The American Constitution
Add Constitutional expertise to engrossing fact-based story of U.S. government origin and design produced to entertain, educate
LOS ANGELES, Calif. & WILMINGTON, N.C. -- David Garrigus Productions recently filmed USC Law Professor and author Franita Tolson for the innovative, sweeping historical documentary The American Constitution.
Professor Tolson is the latest in a long list of noted authors, academic scholars, and historians joining the film project to help tell the compelling story of important events in the summer of 1787 as the Framers struggled to save their country in a battle of words and ideology on topics that are still hotly debated today.
“The people who stormed the Capitol on January sixth don't have a real understanding of how government works. Unfortunately, a lot of people have lost touch with what the Constitution actually says,” Professor Tolson explained, adding, “This is why civic education is so important—because it fills the gap. There is a gap between how the system works and how people understand the system to work. That gap can be filled in all sorts of misinformation."
Taking COVID-19 protocols into account, the production team utilized a custom 4K remote studio package to minimize person-to-person contact in filming Professor Tolson remotely.
According to The American Constitution Producer/Director David Garrigus -- the award-winning filmmaker behind the critically-acclaimed Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brother's Journey of Invention featuring Neil Armstrong and John Glenn as the voices of Orville and Wilbur -- his lofty goal is for this film to be for the Constitution what Ken Burns’ The Civil War was for that formational part of our nation’s DNA—to create a national dialogue.
“This film stands on the shoulders of these leading scholars who help make the complexities of the Constitution understandable for ordinary citizens like myself. It’s a fascinating story that answers a lot of questions about why our government is what it is today,” Garrigus added.
In addition to scholars, authors, and historians, The American Constitution incorporates the performances of noted actors portraying the Framers’ actual words, bringing to life the drama, conflicts, and desires of Washington, Madison, and Hamilton in their struggle to save their fledgling United States from ruin.
The expanding list of constitutional experts includes (in alphabetical order):
• Akhil Reed Amar, author of the acclaimed America’s Constitution: A Biography, expert on constitutional law and criminal procedure, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School
• Carol Berkin, author, expert on women's history in colonial America, Presidential Professor of History, Emerita, of Baruch College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
• Mary S. Bilder, author of the ground-breaking Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention. American legal and constitutional history professor at Boston College Law School
• Jeff Broadwater, author, Professor Emeritus of History at Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina 
• Christopher Collier, author, Professor of History Emeritus of the University of Connecticut
• Ralph Ketcham (1927-2017), author of the definitive single-volume James Madison: A Biography, former Professor of History at Syracuse University and editor of The Papers of James Madison
• Michael J. Klarman, author of the first comprehensive single volume on the Constitution’s creation and ratification,  The Framers’ Coup, Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School
• Stuart Leibiger, author, Professor and Chair of History at LaSalle University
• Sanford Levinson, author, expert on constitutional law, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at The University of Texas Law School
• Pauline Maier (1938-2013),  author of the definitive Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788, 2011 winner of the George Washington Book Prize, former William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American History at MIT
• Michael Meyerson, author, professor of law and Piper & Marbury Faculty Fellow at the University of Baltimore
• David O. Stewart, author, whose book The Summer of 1787 was on the Washington Post bestseller list for several weeks
• Franita Tolson, author, Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at University of Southern California Gould School of Law, nationally recognized expert in election law
• Gordon Wood, awarded the 2010 National Humanities Medal, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution which won the Pulitzer Prize and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize
This feature film is in production and projected for completion in early 2022. More than 50 historical figures are portrayed with the majority of the actors already filmed. Post-production is more than half complete. Interested individuals, actors, corporations, educational institutions, and organizations wishing to participate or learn more can visit the film’s website constitutionmovie.com. To sign up for The American Constitution updates, behind-the-scenes and sneak peeks visit eepurl.com/heEdYr
About The American Constitution
The American Constitution historical documentary and education initiative is an independent entertainment property designed as a powerful part of the solution to the public’s lack of fundamental understanding of U.S. Civics. Set to premier in 2022, the film is currently in production by David Garrigus Productions, winner of Telly Awards, Cindy Awards, and New York Festival’s Gold Medal. For more information visit constitutionmovie.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
International Cast Portrays the Framers of the Constitution
WILMINGTON, NC. February 1, 2021. In December and January, David Garrigus Productions conducted a nation-wide talent search to cast the leading roles for the feature film THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION. 

Prior to the national search, the production team filmed more than two dozen Wilmington hometown actors as many of the Framers of the Constitution. The film is a unique opportunity for Wilmington actors to gain national exposure in a film that will be seen by millions.

“We’ve tried to cast the best actors that Wilmington has to offer. But there came a time when we had to search nationally,” says director David Garrigus. “We have attracted five incredible actors to the project hailing from South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Canada, and two from New York. These artists will blow you away. We’ll be making announcements soon.”

James Madison at 34 - CAST
George Washington at 54 - CAST
Alexander Hamilton at 33 - CAST
Edmund Randolph at 34 - CAST
George Mason at 60 - CAST
Benjamin Franklin at 82 - Role still open
Mercy Otis Warren at 59 - Role still open

Mercy Otis Warren was a historian and political writer hundreds of years before her time. A keen judge of politics and outspoken critic. Advised many political leaders of the era. She wrote from her Plymouth, Massachusetts home.
What really happened at the Constitutional Convention?
Professor Mary Bilder sheds new light on the historical records.
December 15, 2020, in NEEDHAM, MA and WILMINGTON, NC - David Garrigus Productions remotely filmed an in-depth interview with Constitutional Historian and Boston College Law School Professor Mary Bilder for the upcoming documentary feature film The American Constitution. Her book, Madison's Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention, uncovers how much of the Convention's "authoritative record" was contemporaneous and reliable and what parts are likely to be 18th-century political spin. Her book was awarded the 2016 Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy, the James C. Bradford Prize for Biography from the Society for Historians of the Early Republic, and was named a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize. She is also the author of The Transatlantic Constitution: Colonial Legal Culture and the Empire (Harvard University Press, 2004), awarded the Littleton-Griswold Award from the American Historical Association.
Our interview coup with "The Framers' Coup" author Michael Klarman
November 20-21, 2020, TRENTON, MAINE and WILMINGTON, NC - David Garrigus Productions remotely filmed an in-depth interview with Constitutional Historian and Harvard Law Professor Michael Klarman for the upcoming documentary feature film The American Constitution. The interview took place over two days and resulted in more than four hours of filmed commentary about the Framing. Professor Klarman is one the premiere authorities on the Founding Era and is the author of The Framers' Coup—the first comprehensive account told in a single volume of the entire struggle for the United States Constitution—from inception through ratification.
Professor Klarman is our latest addition to the leading experts who have lent their voices to The American Constitution film with more interviews scheduled in the coming months. Our cast of experts includes constitutional scholars Akhil Reed Amar and Sanford Levinson in addition to leading historians Gordon Wood, Pauline Maier, David O. Stewart, Carol Berkin, Stuart Leibiger, Christopher Collier, Ralph Ketcham, Michael Meyerson, and Jeff Broadwater.
Watch PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION Sneak Peek
November 1, 2020, WILMINGTON, NC - David Garrigus Productions completes Preamble to the Constitution—a new 4-minute short that reveals the magic behind the opening words to the US Constitution. Features constitutional scholars Akhil Reed Amar and Sanford Levinson in addition to leading historians Carol Berkin and Christopher Collier. Contact us to preview the complete short.
Watch Origins of the Electoral College Sneak Peek
October 1, 2020, WILMINGTON, NC - David Garrigus Productions completed the new short film entitled ORIGINS OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE. The five-minute film explores why the framers of the Constitution designed this unusual method for electing presidents and takes an unvarnished look at long-term consequences of the Electoral College over the subsequent presidential elections. Features renowned constitutional scholars Sanford Levinson of The University of Texas Law School; Akhil Reed Amar of Yale Law School; and historian and author Stuart Leibiger of LaSalle University. And dozens of actors appear in the short film portraying framers of the Constitution. For more information contact.
On the Cutting Edge of Safe Filming Practices During COVID-19 Pandemic
AUSTIN, TX and WILMINGTON, NC - August 23rd, 2020, David Garrigus Productions filmed renowned constitutional law professor Sanford Levinson remotely for the upcoming historical documentary THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION. The production was especially noteworthy because the film team created and shipped a "foolproof" remote production camera kit including the famed Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K that Dr. Levinson and his wife, author Cynthia Levinson, were able to set up and run without the need of a film crew entering their home during the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Levinson is Professor of Government at The University of Texas School of Law in Austin. David Garrigus conducted the interview from Wilmington, North Carolina with technical assistance by team member Johnny Dougherty.
Filmmaker Begins Production on Historical Documentary The American Constitution
David Garrigus Productions Making Feature-Film Documentary to Address National Security Issue of Civics Illiteracy
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- David Garrigus, the award-winning filmmaker behind the critically-acclaimed Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brother's Journey of Invention—featuring Neil Armstrong and John Glenn as the voices of Orville and Wilbur—has begun filming the historical documentary The American Constitution.
This timely independent film is being developed as a powerful part of the solution to the public’s lack of fundamental understanding of the U.S. Constitution. 
“Less than a third of Americans can name the three branches of government. This should be considered a national security issue,” Garrigus, said, adding, “This level of civics illiteracy is an existential threat to our nation and was one of the Founders’ greatest fears when they designed the U.S. system of government.”
“A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.” —James Madison, 8/4/1822
The American Constitution will tell the story of the U.S. Constitution's creation—a gripping tale told through the actual words of the founders performed by acclaimed actors, with many of the world’s leading scholars and historians providing compelling commentary. It will capture the drama, conflicts, and desires of Washington, Madison, and Hamilton in their struggle to save their fledgling United States from ruin. The film promises to bring millions to this essential American story.
“Right now, our nation is in turmoil politically. There may be political divides over interpreting parts of the Constitution. But when it comes to the actual creation story of the Constitution, about what happened in Philadelphia in 1787, virtually all historians and constitutional scholars are in agreement regardless of their political affiliation,” Garrigus explained. "This is a film about the Constitution that everyone can agree on."
The American Constitution comes on the heels of Garrigus’ Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brother's Journey of Invention which premiered PBS and internationally during the 100th anniversary of flight. Kitty Hawk has reached nearly 10 million viewers. It won Best Documentary at the International Family Film Festival.  
Set to premiere in 2021, The American Constitution production is more than 50% complete but continues to cast actors to portray the dozens of historical figures—Framers of the Constitution and the production is signing partners for the project over the coming year. Interested individuals, corporations, educational institutions, and organizations wishing to participate or learn more can visit the film’s website www.constitu.com.
About The American Constitution
The American Constitution historical documentary and education initiative is an independent entertainment property designed as a powerful part of the solution to the public’s lack of fundamental understanding of U.S. Civics. Set to premier in 2021, the film is currently in production by David Garrigus Productions, winner of Telly Awards, Cindy Awards, and New York Festival’s Gold Medal. For more information visit https://constitutionmovie.com/.
Back to Top