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... Balance guides Professors Stogner and Stack as they produce their documentary, In the Executioner’s Shadow. They have interviewed a range of experts reflecting the spectrum of opinions on capital punishment. Their main narratives also present opposing viewpoints… The territory between these positions is the space Professors Stack and Stogner explore. Maggie and Rick’s documentary will generate thought-provoking discussion. This work has the potential for raising public understanding of the complexities of justice… In America we’re taught that innocent life is sacred. We are never instructed that guilty life is sacred. Capital punishment promises justice but delivers vengeance. What enables the death penalty to persist is indifference. Powerful story telling can make a difference. It can turn society around and move us to higher ethical ground. Professors Stogner and Stack’s film is imbued with authenticity and will give voice to both sides of this issue.
[In the Executioner’s Shadow is] a documentary that presents powerful and unusual perspectives on capital punishment. Such a film could prove to be a valuable media tool in advancing public understanding of this life-and-death issue. … The professors… are going to great lengths to expose viewers to opposing points of view… I endorse the film makers’ philosophy of fostering dialogue from all perspectives. It is the potential of this documentary to contribute to the ideal of moving us toward a more enlightened society that excites me about this work.
The film takes an unflinching look at the how the death penalty affects the American justice system through three intimate and personal stories. These are lives that were forever changed by violence and the search for justice. Whether you oppose or support the death penalty, this film will challenge your assumptions.The WFCC jury members congratulate the team behind In the Executioner’s Shadow on the production of this thought provoking, and incredibly socially relevant, achievement in film-making.
I write to express my strong support for Professors Maggie Stogner and Rick Stack. In their film I see the potential of elevating public understanding on this controversial issue. I endorse the approach of providing an audience with thorough and balanced background, and encouraging viewers to draw their own conclusions. It is within the give-and-take dialogue on controversial subjects that intellectual progress is made. The telling of these stories is ripe with the possibility of expanding the public’s understanding of justice and punishment. I know it is the filmmakers’ intent to get people talking, to get viewers to question their originally held positions, to disrupt complacency.
The film was profound and moving and had a great effect on many of those in attendance.
The stories told in this film are profoundly moving. They are sure to get people thinking, learning, and taking action.
In the Executioner’s Shadow offers audience members a wide range of perspectives on capital punishment without advocating for a particular position. The film brings you up close to the experiences of family members and corrections employees whose standpoints are unique, insightful, and give us all new reasons to rethink public policies that are, literally, matters of life or death.
Really terrific. I thought the structure was perfectly done and loved the simplicity of how the film portrayed the executioner and his visual story in contrast to the complexity of the ideas in play. All of the people in the film really come across.