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Timothy Brian Cole died in a Texas prison. He was innocent! Help us tell his story.
Timothy Brian Cole died in a Texas prison. He was innocent! Help us tell his story.
66 backers pledged $25,050 to help bring this project to life.

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Thank you for visiting our Kickstarter page for TIM COLE!

Please take a moment to watch our trailer for the film:

TIM COLE is the story of a mother fighting for her son, of a flawed Texas criminal justice system that, despite multiple opportunities failed to do the right thing, and the story of a young man who refused to compromise his principles in the face of the most difficult of circumstances.

Your pledge not only helps us tell Tim's story, but will help create a needed conversation about wrongful convictions, an issue that still plagues our criminal justice system in America.

If you have any questions about the project, please don't hesitate to message me directly. ~ Jared

MEET TIM'S BROTHERS

Reggie and Cory were kind enough to send in video clips to ask for your support and to explain why they want Tim's story to be told on this scale:

ABOUT THE FILM

Tim Cole, a Texas Tech student and former military veteran, was falsely accused and convicted of a Lubbock rape in 1985. A crime he did not commit. Despite there being ample evidence pointing away from Tim and towards the actual suspect, Tim was sent to prison with a 25-year sentence, always maintaining his innocence, even denying an offer of probation if he would admit guilt.

While in prison, he continued to be the big brother to seven younger siblings, going so far as to encourage his sister, Karen, to stay in Law school in Lubbock because in his words: "I still believe in the justice system, even though it doesn't believe in me."

One of the few existing photos of Tim in prison, still smiling his big smile despite all that had transpired.  On the back of the photo Tim's mother, Ruby wrote:  "My first born. Always remember son, God is able. I love you, Mother"
One of the few existing photos of Tim in prison, still smiling his big smile despite all that had transpired. On the back of the photo Tim's mother, Ruby wrote: "My first born. Always remember son, God is able. I love you, Mother"

In 1995, 10 years after his conviction, the actual perpetrator began writing authorities in Lubbock, attempting to confess to the crime Tim was convicted of. This man, Jerry Wayne Johnson, was also in prison for unrelated sexual assault convictions. It took six years - 2001 - for Johnson to receive a one page denial to his request for counsel so he could confess and make things right.

During this intervening time, Tim Cole died in prison from complications of an asthma attack in 1999, completely unaware that another man was trying to confess to the crime. Johnson, not knowing that Tim had died, began writing more letters in 2007, but this time he sent them to Tim's family along with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Tim's family at his gravesite
Tim's family at his gravesite

Before long the Innocence Project of Texas got involved to begin the process of clearing Tim's name. With exonerating DNA evidence in tow, a groundbreaking Court of Inquiry process was utilized to achieve exoneration, the first posthumous exoneration in Texas history. Further efforts by Governor Rick Perry and former Attorney General Greg Abbott resulted in the first posthumous pardon in Texas history along with being given a historical marker at his grave site and a 14-foot tall statue of Tim being erected at the busiest intersection in Lubbock, directly across from the Texas Tech campus.

Governor Perry issues Tim's mother the posthumous pardon
Governor Perry issues Tim's mother the posthumous pardon

Most importantly, Tim's story has led to a myriad of legislative reforms, making Texas a leader in innocence reform. Not only does Texas have the most progressive compensation package in the nation with the Tim Cole Compensation statute, but we just had the Tim Cole Exoneration Review Commission signed into law this summer by Governor Abbott himself.

Tim's story spans decades but it still isn't complete. His story continues to inspire legislation and reforms to this day along with inspiring countless individuals to seek justice in truth in their own lives.

And while many are aware of the good that has been done in Tim Cole's name, not many know his story, who he was as a man, what he aspired to be and how this tragedy unfolded. That is the aim of this documentary. To humanize Tim. That is why this story needs to be told.

While Tim made the ultimate sacrifice, when we tell his story and use it to inspire progress, we ensure that he did not die in vain. We can make a difference with this story. It's extremely relevant to the times we are living in today.

Tim's statue in Lubbock
Tim's statue in Lubbock

Weaving together a database of archive footage, photos, letters, newspapers, broadcast footage from the 80's, as well as my own footage of recent events surrounding the story (Tim's statue unveiling in Lubbock, his posthumous honorary degree from Texas Tech, various interviews etc...) I have also been given access to Tim's late mother, Ruby Cole Session's collection of letters to and from Tim while he was in prison. These reveal the mother/son bond in a powerful way that will be relatable to an audience. I plan to use these via voice over in the film. Since Tim cannot be a part of the film, I intend to use a parallax technique with his photos, creating subtle movement to bring him to life for the viewers, especially during the voice over of his letters to his mother.

Ultimately, TIM COLE will takes us deep into the life of the man whose name has become synonymous with wrongful convictions in the state of Texas.

WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?

Funds raised here on Kickstarter will go towards needed equipment rentals and upgrades, the hiring of a production sound recordist, to continue our research and cataloging of archival video, photo and documents for use in the creation of the film as well as to cover the expense of travel to and from the 20+ locations our interviews are scattered at across the country.

Once shooting is complete we will create a sample funding reel that will run about 30 minutes. This will be used to bring awareness to the film and to seek out additional completion funds from various grants for the final stages of post production including the hiring of an editor, sound mix, score, voice over talent and color grading.

A LITTLE ABOUT ME

I am a Fort Worth based video journalist and documentary filmmaker. My work has appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Morning News, Washington Post, Sacramento Bee, Agence France Presse, McClatchy DC, Boston Globe, LA Times, Yahoo News, MSN, Chicago Tribune, Apostrophe Magazine and Indieslate.

I have produced hundreds of short documentaries and video stories for the Star-Telegram's website. My Inside the Huddle video segment on TCU quarterback, Foster Sawyer, won an Associated Press Managing Editors award in 2013, and my 2014 short documentary Vanished: The Austin Tice Story premiered at the Newseum in Washington D.C. before the PBS News Hour program “News We Could Lose” hosted by Judy Woodruff. I was also a cameraman for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival breakout hit, Hot Girls Wanted which premiered in the feature documentary category and was purchased by Netflix.

WHY I AM MAKING THIS FILM

I carefully select each one of my projects based on one single principle: Is the story meaningful enough to dedicate thousands of hours of my personal time to?

I am a father of three young children, and as any filmmaker will tell you, when you take on a project, part of that decision means you will be sacrificing a large chunk of your free and personal time that could be spent with your kids. The project has to be so meaningful and personal that you are willing to make that sacrifice.

In short, Tim's story of perseverance in the face of injustice is so powerful, so meaningful that I am honored to have the opportunity to tell it, and I feel privileged to be able to share it with you.

Tim in a Lubbock Police lineup. He's holding the no. 4 card.
Tim in a Lubbock Police lineup. He's holding the no. 4 card.

I have spoken at length with Tim's brothers about our goals for the film and his youngest brother, Cory shared a story that gave me insight into the type of woman that his mother Ruby was. After Tim died Cory approached her and asked what he could do to help ease her pain. He told her he would do whatever she asked. Her words became his mission in life: "I want them to never forget." And as Cory says, "And that was the end of that."

Tim's mother Ruby Cole Session was his pillar of strength.
Tim's mother Ruby Cole Session was his pillar of strength.

So that is our plan.

To make sure we all never forget what happened to Tim and to create a platform for conversation that can bring about meaningful change.

Additionally, Jeff Blackburn, the co-founder of the Innocence Project in Texas has given his support to the film. He has also agreed to join us in our mission to help spread the story.

As a group we want to take the film to colleges and law schools across the country and share the message that Tim's story brings. Hopefully we can reach a generation of young minds and curb the presumptuous, cynical attitudes that have allowed this issue to persist.

Fellow Texas exonerees have also voiced their support and willingness to participate in these screenings, adding a face to the discussion.

TIM COLE will capture the power of a mother's unshakeable faith, of a vulnerable criminal justice system that needs to reevaluate its processes, and the character of a young man whose legacy continues to bring about positive change decades after his death.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TIM'S STORY

The Innocence Project: http://www.innocenceproject.org/cases-false-imprisonment/timothy-cole

Fort Worth Star-Telegram coverage of Tim's statue unveiling in Lubbock: http://www.innocenceproject.org/cases-false-imprisonment/timothy-cole

Mother Jones profile of Tim's story: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/tim-cole-rick-perry

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER FOR UPDATES:

FACEBOOK - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tim-Cole/1584351328483146

TWITTER - https://twitter.com/timcolemovie

www.timcolemovie.com

Risks and challenges

You'll hear it from any independent filmmaker-- getting a film made is a HUGE undertaking, requiring the efforts and dedication of many. But we wouldn't be doing it if we didn't care so much about getting this story out there.

The hope is to have the film completed by late 2016 - but there's a chance it could take longer.

The film WILL get made!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    All funding levels will receive our undying gratitude and gain access to our ongoing updates as well as a personal thank you on Facebook and Twitter!

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    Our sincerest thanks and a shout out on Facebook and Twitter!

    We'll also mail you a TIM COLE movie postcard that will be used as part of our film festival promotional materials!

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    First access to a digital download of the finished film (before anyone else can get it!), as well as a thank you credit on our website, and shout out on Facebook and Twitter too!

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    A physical DVD of the finished film, as well as first access to a digital download of the finished film, a thank you credit on our website and a shout out on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    An official 16x20 movie poster for the film as well as a physical DVD, first access to a digital download of the finished film, a thank you credit on our website and a shout out on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    An official #TimCole t-shirt featuring a screen-print on the back of Tim's statue standing tall in Lubbock,TX. as well as a physical DVD of the finished film, first access to a digital download of the finished film, a thank you credit on our website and a shout out on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    An Invitation to the Fort Worth, TX Premiere Party of the finished film (2 tickets) *Note: If you don't live near Fort Worth, you will get an invitation to a festival screening and after party at a film festival nearest your town.

    You also get all of the rewards above: (actual DVD as well as digital download of the finished film, movie poster and #TimCole t-shirt, a shout out on the website and Facebook and Twitter too!)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You will receive a Special Thanks in the film credits as well as all the rewards from the $250 level.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    We can't thank you enough... but we'll try!

    At this level you will receive all of the above rewards PLUS a 3 minute mini-documentary on any friend or family member of your choosing. We will use your personal home video footage, photos and even arrange for a brief interview to be shot in your hometown that will be included. This would make a great birthday, anniversary or graduation present for a loved one.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PACKAGE

    Donate at this pledge level and we will arrange for a Community screening/private screening with the Director, Tim's brother's, Cory and Reggie, and a exonoree from the Dallas area followed by a paneled discussion. (travel not included outside of Dallas/Fort Worth area).

    This is perfect for Law Schools, Universities, Law Firms and Community groups.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER PACKAGE

    You will be named an Associate Producer in the film's credits. You will also receive all of the rewards that come at the $1,000 pledge level.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    WELCOME TO THE CREW!

    All pledges at this level will receive an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER credit in the film as well as all of the rewards from the previous levels.

    Additionally. your personal 3 minute mini-documentary on a friend or loved one will be stretched into a 10-15 minute short documentary.

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Funding period

- (30 days)