There Will Be No Stay is not a documentary about the death penalty -- not in any way you’ve ever seen before, at least. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on December 11, 2013.
About this project
About the Film
There Will Be No Stay is not a documentary about the death penalty -- not in any way you’ve ever seen before, at least. It is, however, a film about the actual men who are tasked by society with carrying out the death penalty. This is a first-hand look at executioners, the pressures they’re put under, and the unbearable toll the act of taking another’s life has on their own.
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.
Risks and challenges
The greatest risk to this film is not hitting our Kickstarter goal. Without it, we won’t be able to properly finish the film and see to it that this story is released to the public in a meaningful way. Your contribution, no matter how large or small, will undoubtedly help make that happen.
The greatest challenge we face is the same challenge that any film faces: securing distribution. We obviously feel that the stories told in our film deserve to be seen by as many people as possible, but we also know that as far as the movie industry goes, to quote Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, deserve's got nothing to do with it. Getting a film distributed is hard, unpredictable work, and as is the case with any independent film, there's no guaranteeing that we will immediately land a miracle deal.
With the success of this Kickstarter campaign, we will be on track to complete post-production within the next three months, but it may be a longer road to distribution. We just don't have a magic ball to predict what's going to happen once we hit the film festival circuit. If you happen to have one, though, we'd love to borrow it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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- (30 days)