“The Punishment” is a short film that takes place in 1978 at a Texas State Penitentiary. The story follows inmate Randle Kohler’s last hours on Death Row leading up to his execution. The only human being he’s able to communicate with is the Prison Guard assigned to bring him his last meal. As their conversation develops we begin to see more and more layers of Kohler’s past and the events that led him to the prison cell.
We want to make a film that sheds light on the death penalty, and hopefully breathe new life into the debate. This controversial method of discipline is still practiced in 31 states with roughly 3,000 inmates currently on Death Row in the US. Since it’s introduction to criminal cases in 1986, DNA evidence has both confirmed and overturned Death Row sentences. Our story takes place before this type of evidence existed.
The primary location we’ll be filming at is the “Old Main” prison in Santa Fe, NM. The location is famous for a prison riot that took place in February of 1980. The event ended in 33 casualties and brought prison reform to the nation’s forefront. Since closing in 1998, the Old Main has hosted numerous productions ranging from big-budget movies to small independent films. We will be filming in the actual Death Row holding cell and execution chamber, which provides ideal authenticity and production value.
Electric chairs are custom built, and ours is no different. It was built by us, for our film. We visited a real electric chair in a museum located in the tiny town of Springer, NM. We measured every inch of it precisely, photographed every angle, made a list of materials we'd need, and went to work. We're proud of the way it turned out, it's quality enough to be used for the real deal.
The Visual References
Photographs tell stories. Here's a few from the many that inspired our project:
SETH FULLER - Director https://www.sethfuller.com/
Seth Fuller is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker and director. He is a featured UNESCO artist who has been showcased from Shenzen to Berlin to Montreal. Additionally Seth has won audience favorite short film at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival (‘13) and best short film in his category at the AMFM Festival in Palm Springs (‘14). Recently Seth was ranked in the top 200 for HBO’s Project Greenlight filmmaker documentary series where his short film was judged by thousands of peers at a national level. Companies he has been contracted to work for include Adidas, Adobe, Levi’s, National Geographic, JC Penney’s, PBS, and most recently the reputable indie music label Bella Union based out of London. Being a native New Mexican, Seth has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Cinematography and Film/Video Production from Santa Fe University of Art and design where he was mentored by Sundance winning filmmakers, Chris Eyre and Hank Rogerson. Seth has found his passion as a director where the compositing of the image, sound, and thematic subtext have the power to create a conscious and emotional response within the viewer.
STUART PENNY - Director of Photography http://www.stuartpennydp.com/
Stuart Penny put hands on his first 35mm still camera at the age of 18. Photography eventually led to motion and motion led to a love for story telling. His work as a videographer has covered many media formats and platforms including television, commercials, film, sports and documentaries. He’s passionate in his work as a steadicam operator, which allows him to work on a variety of sets. Stuart’s clients have included: AECOM – US Airforce – Airtime Dubai – Amazon Prime – Bass Pro Shops – Discovery Channel – NMDOT – Fox Sports – GoPro – Happy Madison Productions – Mercury – Military Channel – MinnKota – Mountain Games – National Geographic – NBC – NPS – Oakley – RedBull – Sony – Soloman – Sportsman Channel – TORCH Eyewear – TNT – TopGolf – Toyota – Warner Bros.
ANDRES SEGURA - Writer/Producer/ "Randle Kohler"
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Andres Segura began taking acting classes while earning a Bachelor’s Degree at the University of San Diego. After graduating, he moved back to Albuquerque to pursue a career in New Mexico’s growing film industry. He’s best known for his recurring role as Ray in NBC’s “ The Night Shift”. His other television credits include roles on AMC’s “Better Call Saul”, Netflix’s “Longmire”, WGN’s “Manhattan”, USA Network’s “Dig”, and CW’s “The Messengers”. Andres’ film credits include “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” starring Tina Fey, and most recently “Only The Brave” starring Josh Brolin.
SARAH MINNICH - "Stacy"
A California native, Sarah Minnich moved to New Mexico where she completed her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. Over the years, her passion for acting has led to her training with the Sol Acting Academy, SAG Foundation, and The Actors Company LA. Television viewers may know her as Brenda from AMC’s “Better Call Saul.” Sarah’s had roles in multiple TV series including Robert Rodriguez’s “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,” AMC’s “Preacher,” and “Breaking Bad” “Graves,” WGN’s “Manhattan,” USA Network’s “In Plain Sight” , Netflix’s “Longmire” and “Godless”, as well as Paramount Networks “Waco” alongside Taylor Kitcsh and Michael Shannon. Sarah’s worked in feature films alongside Benicio Del Torro and Emily Blunt in “Sicario”, Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau in “Shot Caller”, Josh Brolin in “Only The Brave”, Gary Oldman in “The Space Between Us,” and Adam Sandler in “The Ridiculous Six”.
JODI LYNN THOMAS - "Jen"
Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jodi Lynn Thomas is a graduate of the Las Vegas Academy of Visual and Performing Arts. Following graduation, she went on to study theatre at the University of Northern Colorado where she graduated with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. Since graduating, Jodi has worked extensively in film and recently worked alongside Natalie Portman in "Jane's Got A Gun", as well as with Bella Thorne, Kyra Sedgwick and Aaron Tveit in "Big Sky". In 2015, Jodi starred in the short film "Duality" which won numerous awards at film festivals, including Best Horror and Best Picture at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival and Best Film at The IndieFest Film Awards. She was named Best Actress at the Los Angeles Horror Film Festival, CineRockom International Film Festival and the Digitalmation Awards. Jodi can be seen recurring on AMC's hit drama "Preacher" as Pearl. Her other television credits include Netflix's "Longmire" and The CW's "The Messengers". She has appeared in numerous music videos for artists like 60 Tigres, Schmidt, Jivin Scientists and Horse Thief.
ALEX KNIGHT - "Officer Johnson"
Classically trained in performing arts, Alex Knight graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BFA in theatre. Alex spent over a decade performing and teaching improv at The Show in Albuquerque's Box Theater collecting well over 500 performances and a myriad of awards during his tenure. Now based in LA, Alex has found a comedy home with Gayley Street at The Improv Street, where he performs weekly. Alex's formative years after theatre school graduation enabled him to build a resume with credits in theatre, television and film. His television guest credits include AMC’s “Breaking Bad”, WGN’s “Manhattan”, CW’s “The Messengers”, USA Networks “In Plain Sight”, and NBC’s “The Night Shift”. Alex has had recurring roles in ABC’s “Scoundrels” and AMC’s “Preacher”. Alex's feature film credits include “Sicario”, “The Ridiculous Six”, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” and “Frank”. Most recently, his short film, Slow Wallet took home a prize in the American Comedy Film category at the London-Worldwide Short Comedy Festival.
KATHY M. MARTINEZ - Assistant Director/Producer
Kathy’s love of film began with the first film she ever saw in a movie theater, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” She instantly developed an obsession with the entire film making process from script writing to directing, special effects, continuity, editing and everything in between. She wrote, produced and directed her first short film “Everending” in 2004. She has since produced several short films, most recently “Vanity” and “Danger” and has worked on other films and documentaries in many different capacities developing her producing skills along the way. She is currently writing a feature length film and working her way through The Art of Continuity course with industry famed Script Supervisor Dawn Gilliam to further expand her skills.
CHIP BORTON - Sound Engineer
A New Mexico native, Chip Borton grew up in a musical family. Exposed to Jazz and Dixieland from birth he played coronet through high school and spent summers attending Hummingbird Music Camp. Early on Chip was interested in making and recording computer music, and was experimenting with the first MIDI instruments and sequencers using early computers like Amiga, Commodore and IBM PC. Graduate of Albuquerque Technical Vocational institute in digital electronics, Chip went on to work in Silicon Valley for several high tech companies. While in the Bay Area he interned in various recording studios and recorded live events. Returning to New Mexico Chip became a volunteer at KUNM Radio and engineered for many of their call-in and live music shows. He became the engineer for the syndicated show Native America Calling. He recorded countless live bands live on air with the live local talent show Ear To The Ground. Grammy Nominated recording for Black Eagle and has several commercially produced CD's under his belt. Chip branched out from local talent to regional and national acts to form the Non Profit Southwest Stages radio show. Southwest Stages was aired on over sixty stations around the country for nearly ten years and featured names like Los Lobos, Taj Mahal, Ziggy Marley and Doc Watson. These days Chip is doing Independent films, his recent works include “Dead Billy”, “Welcome Matt”, “Enter The Dojo”, “The Deception” and “Solitary”.
MAGDELENE GALLEGOS - Unit Production Manager
Magdelene “Maggz” Gallegos is a local theatre artist and filmmaker residing in Albuquerque. She holds a double major Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre and Anthropology, as well as a Master’s Degree in Family Studies, all from the University of New Mexico. Maggz is a current member of Blackout Theatre Company and a former member of Ka-HOOTZ Theatre Company, as well as Siren 13 Media. Maggz typically works as a writer, director, actor, stage manager, script supervisor, costume coordinator, and props master. She has been associated with such projects as Quarantine: An Immersive Haunted House (5 years running), Perfecting Eva, 49 Sins, The Three Senorita Pigletitas y El Diablo the Wolf, Parajos de mi Sangre, A Mother’s Crime on Lifetime network, Danger, The Affair, Strive, Chasing Sunsets and most recently El Corrido de Jorge. Magdelene’s passion for both theatre and film stems from her love of storytelling, which she believes is one of the best ways to gain empathy for another person’s experience. She’s very excited to be working on The Punishment and can’t wait to introduce all these characters to the world.
Our goal is to show our film at festivals around the U.S and across the globe. If it’s a success like we know it can be, we’d like to make it into a feature length film, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Right now we just want to get our short film made and in front of audiences.
Special THANK YOU to Shawna Baker and Bruce Jackson for sharing their amazing photographs with us!
Risks and challenges
Every film production faces challenges. Dealing with scheduling issues and time constraints, equipment troubleshooting, and finding creative ways to maximize the budget are all part of a days work. In our case, shooting in an old interior location with minimal working utilities (electricity) takes some careful planning. In addition, pulling off an authentic 1970’s period look requires specific attention to set decoration and costume design. Fortunately, we have an amazing, professional crew and we're ready for anything. Whatever obstacles our team comes across during the shoot we look forward to overcoming them! That’s the most rewarding part, grinding through it until all of the hard work pays off. Thank you for taking the time to view our page, we appreciate your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)