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The Beginning

The seeds of this movie project were planted nearly three years ago.  My colleague, Professor Maggie Burnette Stogner, approached me after I gave a book talk.  Grave Injustice, my second book on capital punshiment, had just been published.  Maggie commented, “Your work is the stuff of documentary.”  “I’ve long thought that,” I responded.  “But I don’t know how…”  Before I could finish, she said, “I do.  Want to collaborate?” 

After an initial meeting, we got a sense of how the other works, how we might meld our talents, and what direction the movie might take.  I prepared to make the leap from books and journals to visual story-telling.  Following months of researching possible narratives and subject matter experts, we got down to the business of filming.  My first major lesson in telling a story visually is how ruthless the editing must be.  When I spend an hour interviewing someone for a book, I may use every sentence uttered, scattered strategically over many chapters.  An hour’s discussion on film may well produce 15 seconds of final footage.  Whew, what a process!

We’ve captured 50 thought-provoking hours of interviews and atmospherics.  Time to get ready to edit. 

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- Rick Stack