There Will Be No Stay explores the intersecting lives of a team of executioners, speaking publicly for the first time ever, on their own paths to discovering freedom from their personal prisons. It is a journey of compassion and consequence through a process shrouded in secrecy.
As you can see from the trailer above, There Will Be No Stay is a nearly completed feature film, but the road here has not been an easy one. Writer-director Patty Ann Dillon began her own journey with the film over five years ago as she set out to make a documentary not about people on death row, the crimes that put them there, or the legal system that passed down their sentence, but the individuals no one ever talks about: the executioners.
As you can imagine, making a movie about a process that no one ever talks about is a bit of a struggle considering, well, no one wants to talk about it. The identities of executioners are rarely publicly disclosed, and sadly often only become known after they have committed suicide, an act that is too common in this line of duty. Many false starts and closed doors later, Patty eventually found two men who were willing to invite her into their deeply private lives and go on the record about how they became executioners, what the job is truly like, and how it changed their lives forever. She then traveled around the United States to get to know their heartbreaking stories, as well as those of other individuals directly involved with institutionalized executions (like Reverend Carroll Pickett, who is offering signed copies of his book Within These Walls: Memoirs of a Death House as a reward for this campaign) and began capturing them on film to finally share with the world.
That’s where you come in.
Why We Need Help
There Will Be No Stay has been a passion project for years, and while Patty was ultimately able to break through the shroud of secrecy and expose a crucial side of the death penalty the public never gets to see, the stories she discovered won’t adequately see the light of day unless the film can afford the finishes those stories deserve. This has been a privately-funded production up until this point, but bank accounts are running on fumes, and now that it’s so very, very close to the finish line it’s simply too late to give up or half-ass it.
So what’s left to do? Mostly technical things. We still need to fine tune the final cut with our editor, Nicholas Fackler, and a key interview needs to be reshot due to unusable audio, but most of what remains are various post-production steps like sound-mixing, color correction, and scoring. And then we get into the even more glamorous aspects of film production, like music licensing, film festival applications, legal fees, marketing, and all of the cumulative costs that come with doing our due diligence to make sure a film like this is properly pushed out into the world.
None of these are insurmountable obstacles, we just need the time to do them, and, as we all know, time is money. Even when doing everything as economically and as responsibly as possible, we do still need to pay the men and women who are making it so There Will Be No Stay is actually a releasable, viable feature film that is taken seriously.
We know that this is an important film, and that it can show people a consequence of capital punishment they may never have thought about before. It’s important we share the stories of the individuals who came forward for this film. It’s important as many people as possible know the death penalty affects more than just the condemned, and that if we as a society are going to allow it to happen, we at least owe the people we burden with its execution enough respect to hear their side.