In the quiet suburb of Cheshire, Connecticut, Jennifer Petit and her two young daughters were killed in a horrific home invasion; husband and father William Petit was the only one who ... See full summary »
Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middleclass Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.
In 1991, Cameron Todd Willingham's three daughters died in a Corsicana, Texas house fire. Tried and convicted for their arson murders, Willingham was executed in February 2004 despite ... See full summary »
This documentary takes the "Innocent Man on Texas Death Row" tale to a dark corner feared by all - - proving that an innocent man has been executed by the State. A clash between good and ... See full summary »
In 1988, Chris Bryson was found running down a Kansas City street naked, beaten, and bloody wearing nothing but a dog collar and a leash. He told police about Bob Berdella, a local business... See full summary »
'What kind of house does a man who has been imprisoned in a six-foot-by-nine-foot cell for over 30 years dream of?' This film captures the remarkable creative journey and friendship of ... See full summary »
Executive Producer Sean Penn presents "Witch Hunt," a gripping indictment of the American justice system told through the lens of one small town. Voters in Bakersfield, California elected a tough on crime district attorney into office for more than 25 years. During his tenure he convicted dozens of innocent working class moms and dads. They went to prison, some for decades, before being exonerated. He remains in office today. This story on a micro level mirrors what the US has experienced over the last eight years. When power is allowed to exist without oversight civil rights are in jeopardy. Written by
There are more than 2 million people in American prisons today. This film is dedicated to the thousands of them who are actually innocent.
The images of your life, picture them, on your refrigerator, in albums, frames. They capture every stage, change, celebration. Without them, how much do you remember? How much do you rely on these photos to remind you of the journey you've taken in life. Now imagine them gone. This is the first photo John Stoll has of is life. The ...
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Although this film is a powerful indictment of legal injustice, and the criminal destruction of families and lives, much of the ground it covers already was examined by a "Dateline" episode in 2004, where the horrendous persecution of John Stoll and the other Bakersfield unfortunates finally was exposed.
It would be better to look back at the genesis of this vast "moral panic" that so gripped us from the 1980s to early '90s - since the Bakersfield case was but one of many. The most famous, at the time, was the McMartin Day School case in Southern California, in which toddler caregivers were accused of satanism and child sexual abuse on "evidence" that was nothing more than fairy tales spun from thin air. In all, other cases wrecked dozens if not hundreds of persons, mostly one or two people at a time, far from media attention, hauled up on the most outrageous of allegations. As noted in the movie, scars and devastation this nonsense left behind is unhealed today.
There is a reason, I think, why the background of this hysteria is so deliberately obscured: The idea of widespread child abuse, which mutated into fantastic, lurid accusations of "satanism" and ritual murder, was fabricated and popularized by radical feminists in the 1970s as a means of attacking "the patriarchy" that dominated Western society from "our house" to Bauhaus to the White House. Broadcast via indulgent, even solicitous media and academia, most of the country and the world believed adult males committed child sexual abuse as commonly as they wore shoes. In a reversal of how this trendy bit of ugly slander gained traction through incessant publicity and repetition, its progenitors are protected today. The subject merely has been dropped into the memory hole; as relentlessly presented the crazy charge was then, so energetically ignored the entire episode is today. Gloria Steinem and Ms. magazine? Not a subject for discussion. Robin Morgan? Mustn't be interviewed. You want to hold responsible the counterintuitive authors of this toxic blueprint? What are you - reactionary?
For the victims of this genuine witch hunt in Bakersfield, there is another reason this tragic subject isn't the subject of documentaries, films and television miniseries - and rarely mentioned at all except in courageous films like this one, and that's because the working-class people who spoke in drawls and drove pickup trucks were the victims, not the villains.
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