About this project
Thank you for visiting our Kickstarter Page for BLOODSWORTH: An Innocent Man. Kirk's story of wrongful conviction, and journey to becoming the first death row inmate exonerated by DNA evidence, is a true testament to the indomitable human spirit in the face of the most difficult of circumstances.
Your pledge not only helps us make the film, but helps shine a light on an injustice that happens more than we'd like to think in our country.
If you have any questions about the project, please don't hesitate to message me directly. ~ Gregory
KIRK TELLS HIS STORY
Watch Kirk tell his story of wrongful conviction, his time in prison and ultimate exoneration (Please note, Kirk does describe the graphic nature of the crime for which he was convicted).
NEW INTERVIEW CLIP
Kirk talks about his decision to "Stand Up" even when faced with the death penalty for a crime he did not commit.
WHY KIRK WANTS THIS FILM MADE
"I want this (film) to be the standard bearer for what it's like for the wrongfully convicted." - Kirk Bloodsworth
ABOUT THE FILM
In 1985, Kirk Noble Bloodsworth was sentenced to die in a Maryland penitentiary for the brutal rape and murder of 9 year old Dawn Hamilton.
This dark journey began almost 9 months earlier on July 25th, 1984 when two young boys, who were fishing in a small pond behind the apartment complex where Dawn lived, witnessed her walk off into the woods with a man they described as skinny, six-foot-five, with a bushy mustache, tan skin, and blonde hair. They were the last people to see her alive.
Hours later, Dawn’s body was found lying face down in the woods by a Baltimore Police Detective.
At the time of the murder Kirk did not live in the area and was neither six-foot-five, nor was he blonde with a bushy mustache. He was a six-foot, brawny redhead with mutton-chop sideburns who had worn glasses since age five. He had witnesses who could place him at home at the time of the murder, and there was no physical evidence that linked Kirk to the crime scene.
In the end, Kirk was convicted primarily by his slim resemblance to a composite drawing based on the eyewitness testimony of the two young boys, and the eyewitness identification of three others, one of whom identified Kirk only after seeing him on the news.
Arrested within three weeks of the murder, Kirk maintained his innocence from day one assuming that somehow, some way, the police would realize they had the wrong man and the nightmare would end.
Sadly, it did not. In March of 1985, Kirk Bloodsworth entered the dark recesses of the Maryland State Penitentiary alone, branded a monster, as he began his 9-year battle to prove his innocence from the confines of a 6×9 cell.
Weaving together archival footage, Kirk Bloodsworth’s own compelling re-telling of his ordeal, and animated reenactments based on court records, police reports, and Kirk’s visceral memories, BLOODSWORTH recounts the remarkable true story of how an honorably discharged former-US Marine with no criminal record was charged, convicted and sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit, and how, through his relentless commitment to his innocence and a truly incredible sequence of events, Kirk became the first individual in the United States to be exonerated by DNA evidence; an event that sparked an important shift in the criminal justice system that has led to the overturning of 200 wrongful convictions across the nation.
Ultimately, BLOODSWORTH takes us deep into, what is for many of us, uncharted territory. A first hand glimpse into the shrouded depths of the American criminal justice system, and into the psyche of a man who was wrongfully imprisoned and arrested in time; forever trapped in a moment, a case, a crime that has fundamentally and forever shaped his life, and has yet to let go.
WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?
Funds raised here on Kickstarter will go toward the production and completion of a 25-35 minute work-in-progress video that captures the overall story, tone and scope of the film, -a required element needed to court further funding and support from institutions such as Sundance, PBS and the Ford Foundation.
Specifically, over the next several months we will be traveling to Maryland to shoot with Kirk, conduct interviews, visit locations important to his case and locate, research and catalog archival video, photo and documents for use in the creation of the film. As well, we will be bringing on some of the key creative personnel for the film including Matthew Wade (http://matthewade.com) our lead animator, and Patrick Benolkin (http://patrickbenolkin.com) the film's composer to assist in the creation of this work-in-progress piece, and will be launching the film's website.
Once completed, we will use this video to bring awareness to the film, and to seek out additional funding and support for the completion of the feature length film.
WHY I AM MAKING THIS FILM
My films are driven by a voracious curiosity, and genuine desire to understand our contemporary human condition, as seen through the lens of our ever evolving American culture. From this entry point I find the stories that I explore are often laced with issues relevant to our current national psyche, though I feel pulled to bypass the obvious practice of coming at them from head on, and prefer to explore them through the stories of remarkable characters.
It is an understatement to say that Kirk Bloodsworth is a truly remarkable character.
I have witnessed Kirk giving his 40-plus minute account of his wrongful conviction several times now and have been impressed that, even possessing the knowledge of the ins and outs of his case, he still has the ability to transport me, along with the rest of his audience, into his world each time and without fail.
His message resonates in the words passed on to him by his late mother, “Stand up!” he remembers her saying, tears in his eyes, “Stand up!” It’s his mantra. Two words that cut to the heart of his character.
A victim of circumstance, his life forever altered as he was cast into a world that would make most men crumble, Kirk chose to stand up, every day he was in prison, and continues to do so today for the hundreds of others in this country that share his story.
Because of this BLOODSWORTH is fundamentally a character driven film focusing on Kirk’s own experience to create a fully realized portrait of what it feels like to be an everyday individual violently snatched out of their normal free existence and tossed into a true living nightmare. Kirk had absolutely nothing to hang his hope on except the knowledge of his innocence, a fact that only he (and his family) believed in. Two trials returned the verdict of guilty, and the People of the State of Maryland had sentenced him to death. He was, to most, a monster, and he was never going to leave prison. How, in facing that stark reality, does one maintain any level of composure, focus or diligence to stand up for the truth that would one day set them free?
BLOODSWORTH captures the power of this indomitable human spirit, illustrating how one survives, even thrives, in the face of incredible adversity.
LEARN MORE ABOUT KIRK'S STORY
CNN profile of Kirk's story: http://articles.cnn.com/2000-06-20/justice/bloodsworth.profile_1_dna-tests-dna-evidence-kirk-bloodsworth?_s=PM:LAW
The Innocence Project: http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Kirk_Bloodsworth.php
Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bloodsworth-An-Innocent-Man/288442097856121
MATTHEW WADE'S PORTRAIT OF KIRK BLOODSWORTH
One of our pledge rewards. Artist/Animator Matthew Wade's striking portrait of Kirk, delivered as a high quality print.
Will the work-in-progress show piece be just a collection of raw footage, or something more polished?
As described, the piece will serve to capture the story, scope and tone of the full length film, and will basically resemble a polished short film version of the larger story we are telling. The intent is to deliver to you, and to the organizations we are seeking further support from, a very compelling, albiet compact, film, that satisfies in and of itself while leaving you craving more.
Drawing inspiration from films such as CHICAGO 10 (http://youtu.be/M9uJL7lWdFg) and WALTZ WITH BASHIR (http://www.youtube.com/watch…), BLOODSWORTH will incorporate sophisticated animated segments based on our own interviews, court records, police reports, and Kirk's own subjective memories about his arrest, his time in court, and his very real internal and external struggle to survive behind bars when branded, even by the worst of the worst, a monster.
The reasoning behind the use of animation is predicated on this medium’s inherent ability to take us deeper into Kirk’s emotional journey by bringing to life the un-recorded moments of his passage through the criminal justice system to create a rich cinematic experience that will ultimately connect us to Kirk and his ordeal in a much more meaningful way.
By a careful interweaving of these animated segments with the live action and archival footage, we will work to unfold a fully realized picture of Kirk’s harrowing story told through the point of view of his individual experience.
By backing this project, you become a valued and integral part of its production from day one. By accepting your pledge I am making a promise to deliver, not simply on your rewards, but on a quality film that you'll feel proud to have been a part of.
The reason I am here seeking your support is because I genuinely believe in building relationships and community around the work that I do.
When complete, we'll be applying for production support (including funds and mentorship) from the Ford Foundation, PBS, Independent Lens, ITVS, Sundance Documentary Fund and others in order to complete the full length film. A process we'll keep you abreast of along the way.
At the risk of sounding lofty, I plan to create an Academy worthy film that warrants both strong festival play, award consideration, and wide distribution via channels that you'll recognize.
That said, I believe this is a film that can also serve as positive tool for bringing awareness to the very real problem of wrongful conviction in this country. To that end, we've already begun reaching out to those working day-to-day and on the front lines for the innocent and the exonerated, so that when the film is complete we can partner with them for screenings and events that use the film for education and advocacy on behalf of the growing legions of exonerated and wrongfully convicted men and women in the US.
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