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